Conference Suggestions

Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence
Professional Development Grants for Teachers
Linda Frantz, a Putnam City Schools third-grade teacher, received a Teacher Grant for Professional Development to attend the Space Academy for Educators. “It is my hope that sharing my experience and love of all things ‘space’ with my classes will inspire them to pursue STEM careers,” said Frantz, who is launching an after-school STEM Club to share her Space Academy Lessons.

Conference Suggestions

There are many national conferences from which to choose that offer outstanding professional development. Since our Teacher Grant program began in 2003, we have learned of a number of conferences that we would recommend. Listed below are such conferences and their dates for the upcoming year. The listing for each conference includes a description of its content or a teacher quote that discusses its content and value. Click on the conference title to visit each event's website. Conferences are listed by content or subject-matter area and then by date of conference.

General Professional Development:

International Conference on Positive Behavior Support
March 28 – 31, 2018 San Diego, CA
The conference was four full days packed with fantastic and informative information. We have already begun implementing several of the procedures both in our classrooms and in the building. We are using school-wide rewards to promote positive behavior. We have a new parent facilitator, a web page and several activities planned to reach out to parents and community. We have set up a student panel and have been working on activities for staff that will promote consistency and collegiality. This was one of the most useful and applicable conferences that I have ever attended. There was immediate impact on me and the school staff with whom I shared ideas.

Ron Clark Academy Educators Conference
One Day and Two Day Trainings Available October 2017 – June 2018, Atlanta, GA
My students will benefit in many ways. I brought back so many new ideas that just made them open their eyes to a new world of learning. I gained new vocabulary ideas, differentiated learning strategies, teaching with music (including rap, which of course, they all loved) and an attitude where engaging students was my top priority.

Kagan Winter Academies
Dallas: Institute – January 12-15, 2018, Workshop – January 12-13, 2018
Las Vegas: Institute – February 16-19, Workshop – February 16-17
We had heard Kenneth Kagan at a one-day workshop in Oklahoma and knew we wanted to learn more about his teaching strategies. At his conference, we learned over 30 strategies—ways to get our students up and moving to build classroom cooperation and optimize achievement. His method teaches cooperative learning—how to work with others—which prepares students for success in the adult world. We are seeing our students motivated now and excited to be at school. The conference was everything and more than we had hoped it would be.

National Conference on Differentiated Instruction
July 9-13, 2018, Las Vegas, NV
All my students throughout the rest of my teaching career will benefit from my attending this conference. I learned many new things, most importantly the true meaning of differentiated instruction. I will look forward to applying the techniques to help my students reach their full potential. The modifications I learned will help me make my teaching more tailored to my students’ needs. I am always looking for ways to better myself so that I can help my students. I am so thankful that there are scholarships to help with this! Thank you so much! Your support will help me be a better teacher! I truly recommend this conference to all teachers!

Grade Level Specific:

I Teach K! National Kindergarten Teachers Conference
July 9-13, 2018, Las Vegas,  NV
This conference was the best “pick me up” I have attended. I have two photo albums full of ideas that I am constantly referring to as well as many online resources I was not aware of. This conference opened my eyes to a fresh and rewarding way to teach. Parents of my students have already come to me saying how much their student is enjoying my class and school. I was so revived and ready to start the school year. What a wonderful gift you have given me!

High Schools That Work Conference
July 11-14, 2018, Orlando Florida
This conference is great for a team of teachers, including the school principal, to attend. Among the many school improvement discussions that were held, we learned new ideas on student motivation and well-being, how to get students involved in getting their assignments completed, being on time for class, and more. The sessions were exhilarating. This fall we held a mini-workshop with all the teachers who attended the conference sharing what they learned. Our 100-member staff rotated through each session. We are following up to see how the ideas that the staff learned are implemented in lesson plans and teaching methods.

Fine Arts:

Music Teachers National Association Conference
March 17-21. 2018, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL
Set on Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor and within walking distance to most of downtown’s wonderful attractions, the Marriott Waterfront will play host to nearly 2,000 music teachers, students and industry experts for our annual celebration of the music teaching profession. Conference highlights include evening concerts from husband and wife piano duo Leon Fleisher and Katherine Jacobson, and also the musical and theatrical duo Igudesman & Joo. David Cutler, a leading voice on careers in the arts, will give the keynote address. Fleisher and noted pedagogues Diane Hidy and Elissa Milne will lead master classes. And, don’t forget about annual favorites like Pedagogy Saturday, the Exhibit Hall and the MTNA National Student Competitions! In addition, our colleagues from Canada will join us to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 2007 Collaborative Conference.

National Art Education Association Convention
March 22-24, Seattle, WA
The Theme of the convention is The Challenge of Change. The NAEA National Convention is an annual event providing substantive professional development services for the purpose of improving visual arts instruction in American schools. As such, it is the world's largest art education convention. The three-day convention includes over 1,000 participatory workshops, panels, and seminars with the opportunity to connect with your colleagues from all over the world. Each year some 140 to 200 exhibitor booths displaying the latest art textbooks, high-tech software, prints, slides, curriculum materials, equipment, and programs, as well as the latest studio and art history media are made available for examination and review to art educator delegates.

Language Arts:

TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages): International Convention and English Language EXPO
March 27-30, 2018, Chicago, IL 
As the largest organization focused exclusively on English language teaching for speakers of other languages, TESOL annually hosts at its international convention more than 6,500 people from across the United States and around the world. Attending the conference is a wonderful opportunity to stay abreast of the latest research, technology and strategies relating to working with English Language Learners. With half of our school population being English Language Learners, every teacher in our building needs to be using practices that support these learners. As an ELL coach for teachers, I was looking for easy to implement, simple, inexpensive supports and strategies to give them. I was able to return with numerous ideas. Thank you for the opportunity to seek out exactly the information I was looking for.

International Literacy Association Conference
July 21-23, Austin, TX
Hearing children’s author Steve Layne speak on Igniting a Passion for Reading was life changing. Like Layne suggested, upon our return, we created a “Golden Bookshelf,” where we display our special books—our favorites, those signed by the authors, special event books, etc.—helping make students desire them all the more. We learned that sparking an interest in reading is even more powerful than teaching the skill of reading, and have seen this in action as our students have fought over books on our “Golden Bookshelf” or sought out copies of the same book in our school library.

We are ON FIRE with wanting to share what we learned. I have approached our principal with the idea of a school-wide vocabulary parade based on an idea we heard at the convention for making vocabulary come alive. We are also considering a vocabulary fair with games, food and prizes. It was truly a life changing opportunity to attend the International Reading Association Convention.

Columbia University Summer Reading Institute
June/July and August; New York City
This is an outstanding program for teaching reading, one of the best in the country. We have sent a number of teachers to the institute through the past several years. I don’t have a quote from a teacher at the moment, but Tracy McDaniel, principal of the Oklahoma City KIPP School, would readily recommend it. KIPP adopted this program several years ago, sending teachers on a regular basis. The “proof is in the pudding;” KIPP’s reading scores are outstanding.

Columbia University Summer Institute of Writing
June/July and August; New York City
Each night we had a writing assignment, and it challenged us to grow as writers. We quickly realized that in order to teach our students writing with the use of journals, we had to have our own journal and engage in weekly writing ourselves. This experience certainly gave us great insight to what it must feel like for our students as they approach the tasks we set for them. Over the course of the week, we learned teacher-friendly techniques for teaching writing successfully. We learned how to breathe new life into our writing lessons by creating writing experiences that are intense, intimate and rigorous for our students.

After attending a follow-up workshop in Tulsa presented by the above teachers, the superintendent of their school district made the following comment, which was forwarded to us: “If teacher enthusiasm can be translated into student achievement, you will have a bunch of little “Einsteins” at West Intermediate by the end of the school year. More important than your great enthusiasm is the fact that you have dissected writing into critical, digestible nuggets for your fellow teachers and their students. Your presentation yesterday made me (well, almost) want to go back to the sixth grade and learn writing all over again.”

National Council of Teachers of English
November 16-19, 2017, St. Louis, Missouri

At the NCTE Annual Convention, you will choose from more than 700 sessions ranging from general sessions featuring popular speakers, special presentations with well-known authors, or sessions by classroom educators on topics critical to your teaching and learning! Meet authors, connect with other educators with similar interests and experiences who are implementing Common Core and 21st Century literacy, shop for books and other resources from more than 120 exhibitors and meet colleagues from all over the world.

Social Studies:

National Council of Social Studies
November 17-19, 2017, San Francisco, CA

With the theme Gateway to the Core of Learning, the world’s largest and most comprehensive social studies professional development conference will feature more than 100 sessions to  provide content across all social studies subjects: history, geography, economics, civics, social science, and behavioral science. The conference will also feature the new C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards. Join C3 writers, reviewers, contributors and others to explore this landmark document and get practical tips on how to use it.


National Science Teachers Association Conference
March 15-18, 2018, Atlanta, GA
The NSTA national conference offers literally hundreds of workshops and sessions on a vast array of topics related to science teaching. It is the best professional development opportunity that we have ever experienced. Among the many offerings, we were able to see new technology and try new equipment. We signed up for free trials and materials for our classrooms, which is always exciting when our students get to try new equipment. One of the benefits of colleagues attending the conference from the same school is that we will be able to smoothly team-teach and work together as a department. This conference is a notable educational experience for all science teachers.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference
April 25-28, 2018, Washington, DC
The conference offers an incredible amount of workshop choices, put on by the best teachers in the country. I attended a variety of sessions that dealt with technology integration in math class and returned to Oklahoma with a wealth of resources and lesson ideas. An added bonus was getting acquainted with some of the conference math experts, which will help me be a far more effective teacher. It was also great to get to network with colleagues from other states and school districts and gain fresh ideas from them—as well as share some of my own ideas with them.

STEM Forum and Expo
July 11-13, 2018, Philadelphia, PA
The 2017 Forum is a unique, focused event that helps educators better understand the significance of STEM Education, which is defined as--an integration of the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and brings an awareness and understanding of how STEM can be implemented, applied, and sustained in a K–12 setting.

Anja S. Greer Conference on Mathematics and Technology 
June 24-29, 2018, Exeter, NH

The structure of the conference was amazing. There were 15 or fewer teachers in each class, which allowed deeper instruction and lively discussion. We were taught by some of the finest instructors in the world. I learned ways for my students to discover aspects of math on their own. This way, they are more engaged and more likely to remember the material. This was the greatest opportunity I have had thus far to improve my abilities as a teacher. The connections that I made will have a lasting impact for the remainder of my teaching career. Teachers from our state should attend this conference every year.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE): The Epicenter of Edtech
June 24-27, 2018, Chicago, IL
This is the best conference I have ever attended. It is the premier forum in which to learn, exchange ideas and survey the field of education technology. Over 18,000 people attend—teachers, technology coordinators, administrators, library media specialists and policy makers.