This past week I spent 5 days in Minnesota. I just arrived home last night to find the air with a chill in it, and crunchy leaves strewn on my lawn. It is feeling like fall, my favorite time of year. When we left Kansas last Wednesday morning, the leaves had just begun to turn shades of yellow, red, orange and brown. On the ride back from Minnesota yesterday though, it seemed like we saw them changing before our eyes. It was beautiful!
The conference I attended was called "Closing the Gap" and was about assistive technology. I am one of the assistive technology coordinators for our special education cooperative, and this was a chance for me to learn more about what my role is. There are 5 of us on the AT team, some of whom have been on the team for several years, and 2 that have joined us as of this summer. This was one of the first things we did together as a team, and we used the chance to get to know each other. Of course, 9 hours in the car can be quite the bonding experience, especially when 3 of the 5 are prone to car sickness. All in all it was a great trip. I was able to attend many very good workshops, plus talk to vendors about products that are currently on the market. I feel like I learned a lot of new things, and came away with many ideas of how to make what I'm already doing even better!
Workshop sessions started at 8 each morning, and ran until 5:00 each evening. Each session was an hour, with 1/2 hour in between to account for getting to and from each session (sessions were split between two hotels that were across the street from each other).
We stayed in a very nice hotel (Hotel Sofitel http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-0539-sofitel-minneapolis/index.shtml) and our rooms were amazing! It was culture shock for some of our group. The Sofitel is French owned and operated, so everyone spoke with an accent. Comfortable beds, with down duvet comforters, turn down service, etc... :) There was a nice European bakery in the hotel, so I was able to have good pastry for breakfast that tasted as it should!
In the evenings we went to the Mall of America for dinner, and activities. We ate at Bubba Gump's Shrimp (think Forest Gump), Rainforest Cafe, and Kokomo's (Jamacian tiki bar theme). We had wonderful food everyday, and it will be hard to go back to the "regular" food I eat! Activities were shopping, the great amusement park that is inside (awesome roller coaster!), and a movie (The Duchess). I was able to shop for some of the birthday and Christmas presents I'll need, and I hit the sale racks for clothing. I was able to go to my favorite shop H&M, something I usually can only do when I'm in Europe!
I had a great time at the conference, but I was eager to get home and in my own house.
I'm including the link to my class's blog. (http://deeperdigging.blogspot.com) We're just starting to use it in our classroom. Please check back often to see my student's work. Check out the Voki on the right side--press play and hear my message! My student's would love it if you responded about their work occasionally. Comments will be moderated, so don't be surprised if the comment doesn't show up right away. I want to make sure it is appropriate before I let my students see it!