Monday, March 28, 2011


The title of this post is based on sign seen this weekend in a cable car on San Francisco’s Powell-Hyde line. The incorrect grammar forced me to read it a few times before I knew what the saying meant. Eventually I figured out that it was a reminder to the operator to allow sufficient time and distance to stop the car.

I had NO notice and NO previous experience that let me know how good the ASCD Annual Conference was going to be. The past two days have been the best learning experience that I ever had at a conference.

I learned so much in the sessions I attended, and you can read about my experiences in my ASCD blog post reflections. There were two main things though that I will walk away with from this year’s event. They were the opportunities to collaborate with other educators AND the many sessions that focused on building relationships.

COLLABORATION: There were some big name speakers, which is fitting for a conference of over 10,000 participants. However it was the interactions before, during, and after the presentations that I will remember. There were many presenters who facilitated conversations of the participants during their sessions. This allowed me to meet other educators from around the world face to face and to learn from their expertise. These conversations stretched my thinking and challenged my assumptions. I was encouraged to ask good questions and to answer some intriguing questions.

RELATIONSHIPS: I was also encouraged about how many sessions and speakers focused on building relationships with your students and your staff. A few of the sessions I attended were about differentiated instruction, student creativity, and staff supervision, and all three presenters were very clear about how important it is to build relationships in your school. The best quote that can summarize this point is from Peter Reynolds. The last thing he told the assembly to do in order to encourage creativity in the classroom is “Let every child know they are loved.

PRESENTING: I also had the opportunity to present a session entitled “Online Student Collaboration.” I am very grateful to ASCD for the opportunity to be a part of the conference as a presenter, and I hope to be able to present in the future (I already have some ideas for future presentations). I have been able to do about 8 presentations at conferences in the last year and a half, and I felt like I had made it to the big leagues by presenting at the ASCD Annual Conference. I was satisfied with how the presentation went and I feel like I was able to share some effective resources with the participants. However, I fell short in making more personal connections with the participants. As I prepare for future presentations, at ASCD or elsewhere, I will be placing a higher focus on preparing ways to connect personally with the participants at the presentation and beyond.

GENERAL: A few more items that I was very pleased with. The conference had an amazing amount and a wide variety of sessions. Every time slot I had multiple sessions that I wanted to attend. For sessions that I did not attend, I have downloaded the online handouts and will work hard to make time to view that information. ASCD also offered a very strong wifi connection at the convention center AND at the hotel. Thank you ASCD for keeping all of us connected at all times.

The challenge for all 10,000 of us who attended this weekend is to go back to our schools and share our experiences, the passion, and the energy that was all around us in San Francisco.

If you attended the conference, what did you learn? What will you share? What will you remember?


  1. I agree! This was an amazing conference. Excellent organization, quality workshops, super presenters, great key note speakers. I am renewed and prepared for a great end of the year, and already preparing for next year. All the best to you on your initiatives.