In New Jersey we as teachers are given an amazing opportunity the first week of November. The NJEA teacher convention. It's not a great opportunity because we aren't teaching, it is a great opportunity to hone our craft of teaching, without taking the time out of the class.
Nine years ago, 2 months into my first teaching position, I entered a professional development workshop on teaching Financial Literacy. My life changed. In that one, 1 1/2 hour workshop I learned more than a book could have taught me. The ideas I took away that I could easily implement into my classroom were priceless. The cost of the workshop - FREE! Learning from your peers was something that ignited a spark.
So this year I am wearing a different hat; I am a presenter. I have the honor of presenting 3 different times at the convention.
Presenting for the New Jersey Cooperative Education Association I will offer "To Market, To Market", an overview of teaching the entrepreneurial skill sets of creativity through Project Based Learning. This will give the participants some hands-on experiences that can be integrated into teaching creativity - a 21st Century Life Skill that is cited a necessary for success in the future. Enjoy playing the Market Game developed for the PBS show "To Market, To Market to buy a Fat Pig" Game designed by Jared Weinstock of Drexel University (my alma mater! go Dragons!)
In High Tech Hall, with informal drop in sessions I will be sharing two different Web 2.0 tools that can be used by many educators.
Mindomo.com - a mindmap tool that includes presentation and collaboration elements. This tool keeps evolving, with so many ways to put it to use in the classroom and life in general - check it out - there is a free version with limited features.
ChooseMyPlate.gov is another tool that I will present. This government site offers a glimpse into the Dietary Guidelines recommended by the USDA. There are many wonderful tools that can be incorporated into many different classrooms, at all different levels.
So, I am not taking a vacation. I am working hard at making sure the presentations are useful to the teachers who attend. I've come a long way since I walked into the convention 9 years ago and am truly blessed to have this opportunity. I know that teachers throughout the country would love the opportunity.