In an interesting confluence of events, I have six different presentations to give at three different conferences in two different states between March 4 and 14. The good news is that all of these presentations are on topics I've delivered before. The bad news is that the information I have needs to be retooled to fit different audiences and/or timeframes (because there is no universal session length, apparently). For the most part, this is not a big deal. I have enough variety in my slide decks these days to pull samples and arrange them to fit the occasion.
But one of these events is not like the others. In less than a month, I'm off to dance at the biggest ball in education: the ASCD national conference. As I presented to a group of teachers last week, I thought to myself that my slides and materials need to be kicked up a notch. Part of this realization is driven by the shift I'm seeing from presenting to having conversations. A lot of that is due to the audience. People I see now have the basic ideas and mechanics behind standards-based grading practices and they are moving into problem-solving and deeper connections with the classroom environment. I can reorganize my presentation to be less about "how to" and more about richer questions. It's a very exciting place to be.
Beyond that is figuring out how to have these conversations in a room of 150+ people. I haven't presented to a room with more than 100. Working with a group of 75 teachers (as I did last week) was a challenge in its own right in terms of how to make the experience personal in such a large room. ASCD is a very different venue and I want to make sure I create the best learning environment that I can.
Right now, I have a bit of calm before the early March presentation storms. It's a good time to have some headspace for thinking about all of this retooling and the road ahead. If you live in the San Antonio area and/or are going to be at the ASCD conference, drop me a line and perhaps we can carve out some time for a visit (and margarita).