A Half-Baked (?) Idea

While Avery was pestering me to submit proposals for the CMC’s and NCTM conferences for next year (which I finally did, at the last minute, as one does) I struggled mightily to come up with an idea for a workshop that I actually, y’know, wanted to present. In the end I wound up just resubmitting a proposal for a session I’ve already given. I like it, conferences seem to like it, participants seem to like it.

But it was really strange noodling around about conference session ideas for a few months now and coming up with zilch. I even consulted a list of ideas I’d written up a few years ago. Looking back on that was kind of nice, as most of the ideas I’d written down I’ve since presented on. Go me! A few others that I haven’t (yet) presented struck me a kind of meh on this reading.

All I could really think of as a compelling idea was that I’d like to spend some time talking with people about balancing work/life as a new parent. Now, I didn’t think that this is a topic that would necessarily get chosen and I certainly didn’t think that I would be an expert on this by the time November rolled around, so it was a no-go for a conference proposal. However, it got me to thinking…

I would love to have a mechanism in place to set up informal conversations–maybe lunch groups?–who could come together to talk about a topic that is interesting to a certain segment of the conference-goers. For me, it could be talking to other parents about how to juggle everything. Maybe for someone else it would be about homework policies or how to implement standards based grading. The more I thought about it (and talked it over with Avery) the more it started to sound like setting up a mini-EdCamp in the midst of a “real” conference.

So that’s what I’d *actually* like to do for my workshop. For logistical (and economic) purposes, I went ahead and submitted a “regular” session proposal. But this idea is the one that makes me go “Hmmm…that sounds intriguing.”

I guess I’m putting this idea out here just to see if there is in fact any interest in doing something like this.

Or if I’m totally bonkers.

Though I suppose those things are not mutually exclusive…


5 thoughts on “A Half-Baked (?) Idea

  1. The idea of having a space for small (and yet very valuable) conversations was one of the reasons we (Annie, Max, Steve, Tracey and I) offered the idea of a Math Corner to folks planning NCTM Central. We were able to offer that in San Francisco and we had a good first step but we hope to do more going forward. One comment Max mentioned to me is that NCTM Central and the Exhibit Hall doesn’t necessarily equate with the idea of conversations so we have some work to make it more known that’s what we’re hoping will happen. It would be great to start gathering ideas like this – folks have conversation ideas and we’ll supply the space where you come to chat! Deal?

  2. Excellent! I’ve started gathering names/ideas and I’ve added yours to my list. If you talk or tweet with anyone who has an idea of something they’d like to do as a “small but important conversation” please have them get in touch with me. We can host a wide range of conversations including doing and talking mathematics. And, we’re thinking if there are folks who suggest these ideas and find 2 or 3 people to engage, that there will be others who hear about it and want to join in! We’re thinking those who “seed” the Math Corner Thursday and maybe even Wednesday (since NCTM Central opens a day before the Exhibit Hall does) then that will get the idea going and we’ll have an even better use of the space. ~Suzanne

  3. Hi Bree! Recently ideas/planning for NCTM 2017 have been on my task list and I remembered this morning this conversation we had after last year’s Annual Meeting. If you’re planning to be in San Antonio I’m hoping to have you work with us (Annie, Max, and I) to figure out how we’ll do these “small but important conversations.” Also, if you’re going to be at the Phoenix or Philly Regionals or maybe CMC-South, we’ll be there, too, and can try this idea there as well. Thanks! ~Suzanne

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