For those of you who aren't teachers, or are teachers and not from the US, NMSA stands for the National Middle School Association. I was lucky enough to get to go to my first teacher's conference on Friday and Saturday of last week. I really enjoyed it, it was sort of like having a three day weekend.
Our keynote speaker on Friday was Cal Ripkin, Jr. I hear he was very inspiring, as I am not a baseball fan and my A/C had died at home, I skipped his speech. I had to call maintenance to get it fixed, it turned out the motor had completely burned out and had to be replaced. (Might explain, at least partially, the higher than normal electric bills lately.) Once I was out of the assembly I ran down to check out the vendors, soooo much fun stuff. (Lots of freebies too.)I admit to geeking out. I think I am overusing parentheses.
I got to hear several good workshops, including Ruby Payne. Her speciality is working with poverty stricken kids. I had gotten a completely different picture of her message from the people that had raved about her approach. I quite enjoyed her ideas and she was a very good public speaker.
Some other things that I got to explore were diversifying instruction with multiple intelligences, increasing literacy using graphic novels, and educating students on free trade and sweatshops.
The speaker that I really wanted to see was Mae Jamison, the first African-American female to head a shuttle mission. While we waited for the speech to begin, they had the choral choir from Conroe (I believe) sing for us. These young ladies were immensely talented.
She was well spoken and had a great sense of humor. She encouraged us to push kids while supporting them. I am really hoping that they put a video or transcript of her speech on the NMSA website. I did get to shake her hand and take her picture at the end.