It's Monday morning. I am still tired, though far less so, obviously, than when I got home last night. I am not yet really up, but I can tell you that my legs, calves in particular, feel as if I spent the last three days largely on my feet walking around!
I had a good time at this year's BIQ - far better than last years for reasons too numerous to begin to list. Less sturm und drang, to say the least.
Where to start? I guess with support. I had more, let myself accept more than I had going into previous conferences, and the combination of that and a year's experience for a couple of people made a difference in a variety of ways. cogitationitis
coordinated vendors, resulting in our actually having vendors! (I have had as many as 2 or maybe 3 once before, I think
, but never 5 or 6. I missed having David Fox there. I don't know what happened with that and will try to find out, though I am sure it was not from lack of effort on Lisa's part. I gather, some from 2nd hand and some from personal discussion, that some of the vendors are definitely interested in returning next year, which is a happy thing.
Logistically, transportation of those without their own means of transportation was my biggest headache for the conference. I had people from 4 different states who had difficulties being able to get to the conference. I managed to arrange for the Massachusetts and New Hampshire folks to make it easily enough. Through the good graces of Susan (designated spousal unit), the Vermont person made it to the conference, and then wenzel
helped her get back to college. The New Yorker ended up in New York. Maybe we can do better next year.
Friday had more paid attendees than usual, plus the usual mix of speakers and YAs who arrived early for the conference. There were about 15 of us for lunch, a smaller group talking in the morning, and then a bit larger for the afternoon. It was, in the words of one attendee, a very intense discussion - he felt that a newcomer might be scared away by it, but the newest of the newcomers did not seem, to me, to be scared.
We talked about so many different things. A lot of the morning focus was on differentiation and the afternoon on social/emotional needs, but really both halves were about those needs. What is resilience, how can it be nurtured, what is the role of the school, the role of the classroom teacher in that process? siderea
, who joined us for her first time, had just been at a day-long seminar on depression and had much to share with us from that, as well as her general involvement in the discourse as we explored meaning and needs. I really hope she comes back, preferably for the entire weekend next time! (She was, in many ways, less new than the other new attendee, having been dealing with me off and on for 15+ years. The other, while teaching for 13 years, is new to gifted, and this group is very
different than most gifted conference attendees tend to be.) But yes, Lisa, you still need a working definition of Differentiation, I know!persis
handled the children's program - and given the events and stresses in her life apart from my conference (and even ignoring them), she did a great job by all reports so far. She has correctly observed that knowing genders of the children in advance might be a useful thing, though, having reviewed my walk-ins, I think the trend/issue she saw on Saturday morning would not have been predictable. The walk-in children leaned heavily towards the male, younger group.
Children were 25% of our attendees, a fairly common percentage for us. In some ways, it creates a bit of stress, I think, because the parents can't focus as much on their own immediate needs when they may be pulled away at any given moment, but I think the trade-offs of having the program strongly outweigh that issue/potential negative.
The kids seemed to have a ball, overwhelmingly. New friends, old friends from prior BIQs or other events... groups coming together, breaking apart and reforming into different groups. Arika, who ran 4 children's program sessions, is amazing to watch with her kids. I particularly enjoyed watching one session in which she seamlessly integrated a couple of the older YAs into her group of much littler children - and all seemed to have fun with it.
We had a fairly substantial influx of new faces and this was reflected in the YA program as much as anywhere. I spent less time with them than I would have liked, but it seemed like a good and fun mix of folks. Some of the older YAs spent less time there than in years past, and one observed to me that she felt old
. Her observation was that what was being done seemed to be what the younger folks needed/were looking for, so it shouldn't be adjusted for her, or anything, but that did not mean it was a fit for her, either.
End of part 1, I guess. The next part, I will discuss the adult program a bit, the keynotes, my presentations, and a bit of the business side of things.