Over my teaching career, I have attended MACUL numerous times and presented several times as well. This year, my experience was a bit different as this time I was a featured presenter! This was something that I will honestly say I was extremely nervous about - something about having the word "featured" in front of presenter! Although my nerves got a workout, I have to say it was one of the most awesome experiences I have had presenting - something I highly recommend for all educators! And I know that I could not have done it without the support of so many friends that I have met and connected with across the state of Michigan and beyond. I have told several people that we all need a Mary Wever in our life - a person who pushes us beyond our comfort zones, believes in you, builds you up, tells you like it is, and seems to know everyone (we joke about this!) and how to connect people with other like minded people. My advice for everyone is to make sure you have your own Mary in your life!
One thing I enjoy doing during conferences (especially large conferences when there is a lot of people and things going on in the room) is to sketchnote the speaker and their presentation. This really helps me stay focused on the presentation, key phrases or ideas that I can take away, share with the person as a small thank you for them sharing, and a cool looking reminder of what I learned during that presentation. One thing I always share about sketchnoting is that it is a personal thing and just because you and someone else were sketchnoting the same presentation and captured different ideas and points does not make either one of them wrong. It is what is meaningful to you mixed with your own background knowledge - not about whose looks "prettier" or "better" than another. Everyone has their own style and comes from a different background, so they are bound to be different. Unless we give students a worksheet, we wouldn't expect every single student product to look exactly the same would we? Where is the creativity in that?!
For the MACUL conference, I gave two presentations - "Your Greatest Show" and "You CAN Do It - Visual Notetaking with Sketchnotes." Despite the intimidating size of the room, it was a very relaxed atmosphere. One thing I love about the MACUL conference is that it is encouraged to select sessions that fit your learning needs. If you get to a session and it is not quite what you need, feel free to leave and find another session that suits your needs. I personally am not offended when people leave because I have done so myself. For as many people that leave a session, there are always some that join later. The goal is to learn and you need to go to where you will learn best!
I had a great time presenting about sketchnotes and what makes your classroom and teaching your greatest show. I presented the two presentations a bit differently with the sketchnote presentation being more hands on (and walking away with a completed sketchnote!). Everyone who attended was great and I can't thank them enough for their participation and making the who experience awesome for everyone in the room (one of the benefits of interactive presentations - it takes the audience to make it successful!). I linked to my presentations below.
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