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Friday, April 21, 2017

Path to Presenting

We all agree that Union School District has a number of amazing teachers who are doing amazing things with students. Some of our teachers have accepted the responsibility to share their best practices outside the district at local and state conferences. Fifteen of the accepted presenters at the recent Teach through Technology, SVCUE conference, were from USD! Helen Kamali and Jackie Knudson, both Kindergarten teachers at Noddin, were two of the presenters.

As a math lead, one of Jackie’s responsibilities was to present to her grade level. Helen’s introduction to presenting was as a Tech Teacher Leader. She presented a Union University session. Both got their feet wet in a supportive environment, to a known audience of colleagues, in a familiar setting.

Since then, Jackie and Helen have had the opportunity to present outside the district to increasingly larger audiences.

“I never wanted to do presentations. That has never been my goal,” said Helen, “but there are so few sessions for primary teachers.”  Jackie added, “We didn’t think what we were doing in our class was special. But we were encouraged to present and share what we were doing, and now here we are, soon to be, CUE RockStar Faculty!”

Jackie was part of an Android tablet pilot. Her kinders had one-to-one tablets, as did Dianna Talley’s first graders. Mary Fran Lynch, always a Google advocate, encouraged them to submit to present at Fall CUE 2015. Jackie remembers writing the proposal with Mary Fran’s help, and hoping they wouldn’t get chosen. Against hope, they were chosen. The upside was getting to attend Fall CUE. Knowing that being accepted to present at a pre-approved conference means getting to attend, Jackie knew she wanted to present again!

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About the same time, she and Helen had gone to Lakeshore to buy a book on STEAM in Kindergarten. Helen was especially excited and encouraged Jackie to jump in. “Let’s just do it.” So they did.

Their passion, excitement, and growth mindset (“Lots of times we failed.”) led them to develop STEAM centers, run for two hours on Wednesdays with the help of parent volunteers.

Knowing they had something special that should be shared, Jackie and Helen were encouraged to present, by Cindy Loper who told them, “You can do this,” Genevieve Pacada, who asked if they would consider presenting at SVCUE, and Mary Fran Lynch, who helped them write the presentation proposal and encouraged them to resubmit their proposal when their 90-minute workshop proposal was rejected by National CUE.

Even with presenting at Fall CUE to 30 people and at SVCUE to a classroom full of people, they didn’t know what to expect from National CUE where they presented to over 150!
“We focus on why would people want to see our session and what can we give them that they can turn around and use next week in their classroom. And, we practice.”

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“Presenting is an opportunity to make connections, help other teachers, and learn about what is happening in other districts. And, we get to attend the conference.”

Interested in taking the first steps towards presenting? At Union SD, you have a lot of opportunities to hone your skills. Consider presenting to your colleagues either at a staff meeting, a grade level meeting, or at a Union University. Next, apply to present at a local conference like one of the CUE affiliates, like SVCUE. Or, suggest and facilitate a discussion at an EdCamp. Then, you might like to consider presenting at a larger conference.

Learning & Innovation is thrilled for you to represent USD at conferences. Follow these steps to help you on your journey from a district presentation to presenting at ISTE!

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Before applying to present, make sure you receive approval from L&I (email the conference details to Andrew at Pre-approval is required if you would like to have your travel expenses and sub days covered. Many (but not all) conferences provide free or reduced rate registration for one presenter, so, make sure you check before accepting. If you are presenting along with a colleague, check with L&I to ensure the co-presenter’s registration will be covered too.

Here are some conferences and deadline dates you might want to look for:

Conference Dates
CUE Affiliates
eg. East Bay Cool Tools, Sept. 30
CA Math Conference
Pacific Grove, Dec. 1-3
Palm Desert, July 16-17
CA STEAM Symposium
San Francisco, Dec.10-11
CLS Technology
Monterey, Feb. 2-4, 2018
Annual CLS

Fall CUE
American Canyon, Oct. 27-28
National CUE
Palm Springs, March 14-17, 2018
Chicago, June 24-27, 2018

When you are ready to take the next step, any of the ToSAs would be happy to help you complete the presentation proposal form. While that is no guarantee for acceptance, having another set of eyes before pressing Submit can be helpful.

Good luck! And thank you for considering sharing the great work you are doing in your classrooms and here are USD!