Leave Workshops with at Least 2-3 Usable Ideas

In the past month, I have presented at several state AEYC conferences, the Nation Head Start Conference, and the International High Scope Conference. One thing that all of these organizations have in common is the focus on creating developmentally appropriate activities and teaching strategies for young children. While in Chicago, presenting a jam-packed room of Head Start professionals, I could feel some intense excitement from the participants to come away from the conference with new strategies.

When I was a classroom teacher, I called it 'hitchhiking.' We hitchhike on the ideas of others, make them our own and use the ideas to strengthen our own teaching skills. At least, that is what should happen. I always challenge my attendees to leave conferences and workshops with at least 2-3 ideas that they will use immediately in their setting. When I was a teacher, I got tired of finding handouts from workshops sitting on my shelf as I cleaned my room at the end of the year. Handouts with ideas that I was going to try until they became forgotten on my shelf. When I committed to take away 2-3 ideas each workshop or conference, it made all the difference in my professional development. Workshops became worthwhile and I became a better teacher. Try it!

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