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Conferences and Conventions: Why we should attend with students

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An LIRR commute. A subway ride uptown during rush hour and the quiet auditorium of Columbia University awaits expectantly with the almost hum of high school journalists.

The Columbia Scholastic Press Association

(CSPA) as well as other scholastic press associations

hold their annual spring conventions around this time of year offering a wealthy opportunity for learning and networking across county and state lines.

This is one of the few conventions I'm fortunate enough to bring students to considering its close proximity to my school and the availability of public transportation. My kids get an authentic opportunity to meet other j-students from all over and learn from different teachers in a college setting.

Armed with my color-coded program that tells students which sessions they will be attending, I don't overlook any details of the responsibility of taking kids to an event like this. But trust must be given for real learning to happen.

In order to make this or any conference successful, here are some tips to remember:
- make sure the students going are interested in what opportunities lay ahead
- make the purpose of the trip and expectations transparent
- communicate openly and frankly often before, during and after the convention
- provide a preferred means of communication (I give my students my cell number. They are required to check in with me regularly)
- provide structure but allow for flexibility and freedom
- encourage networking and risk taking in meeting new folk
- be explicit in the expectations with the products to be produced after; require a project of some kind


This originally ran on StarrSackstein.com 

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Starr Sackstein currently works at World Journalism Preparatory School in Flushing, N.Y., as a high-school English and journalism teacher. She is the author of Teaching Mythology Exposed: Helping Teachers Create Visionary Classroom Perspective, Blogging for Educators, Teaching Students to Self-Assess, Hacking Assessment, The Power of Questioning and Simply May . She blogs for Education Week Teacher on “Work in Progress” in addition to her personal blog StarrSackstein.com where she discusses all aspects of being a teacher. Sackstein co-moderates #sunchat and contributes to #NYedChat. In speaking engagements, Sackstein speaks about blogging, journalism education, throwing out grades and BYOD, helping people see technology doesn’t have to be feared. Follow her @MsSackstein on Twitter.
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Guest Thursday, 21 June 2018