In the past we've usually posted advice for attending the NAEA
conference. This is the one I've posted in the past. You veterans can
add to my list...
1. Wear your most comfortable clothes and shoes. You'll be alternately
sitting--sometimes on the floor--and dashing off to the next session.
The rooms are usually chilly, so you might like having a blazer or light
2. When you pick up your registration materials, start going through
the catalog of events and make a daily schedule, noting time and place
and which FLOOR the session is on. You'll save a lot of time that way.
I also have to schedule meals or I forget to eat in all the excitement!
3. Get some exercise between sessions or at the hotel by using stairs;
the elevators usually entail a long wait.
4. Try to get to the sessions a little early and sit up front. You're
more likely to get a handout. Please don't leap over people to grab a
handout. Offer to assist the presenter by handing out the handouts
(saving one for yourself, of course).
5. What to bring: a tote bag; camera; poster tube; paper clips and
some file folders to organize handouts; extra pencils and paper for
notetaking; a small flashlight so you can take notes when the lights are
out, preprinted address labels with your name, school, address, phone,
and e-mail address. You will be filling out a lot of raffle forms! If
you have business cards, bring a supply of those, too.
6. Be nice to the vendors. Take the time to talk to them, ask
questions, comment on how you like their products. So many people just
cruise by sweeping samples into their tote bags. I have gotten some
fantastic items that weren't offered as samples, simply because I
stopped to chat.
7. Remember you will have to lug all those samples back. Forgo the
catalogs; just get on the mailing lists. Some people bring an extra,
empty suitcase just for taking back stuff. Occasionally I have taken
advantage of the hotel's business center to ship a box back to myself.
Put your dirty clothes and LIGHTWEIGHT stuff in it to keep shipping cost
8. As for finding the best speakers, unless you're a veteran, you
probably won't recognize most of the names. If a presentation turns
out to be a dud, don't hesitate to slip out quietly and find another
one. The most-packed presentations tend to be the ones about successful
lessons, the ones you can take back and teach on Monday. The more
theoretical/historical/biographical/etc. don't usually get that many
people. At time slots when nothing particularly appealed to me, I would
go to a presentation outside my level or teaching area, and often find a
To answer Amy's specific questions:
> Weather-wise, I know Chicago can be chilly, so is winter apparel
It would be nice to have a coat if you actually plan to set foot outside
the hotel. An umbrella would be helpful as well. But don't bother
unless you know you'll be going out and walking a ways. I remember a
free shuttle that went up Michigan Ave. so you didn't have to walk all
the way to the Art Institute or the shopping area. Ooohhh, Utrecht
Artist's Supplies is just a few blocks away from the hotel, and the last
couple of times the convention was in Chicago they were giving discounts
to people wearing their i.d.s.
> (I'm thinking of buying one of those rolling backpacks.)
Except then you'll be hauling back 'way more stuff than you really
want. Personally, I hate seeing people take those things into the
crowded meeting rooms and exhibit hall; they're always in the way and
people trip over them.
> Should I bring my laptop? I have never brought it on a trip, but since
> this is business, I thought it might be nice for journaling at the end
> of these busy days, and maybe even taking notes during sessions. Or do
> you think it would be more cumbersome than helpful?
I like to pack light (well, okay, I always ended up going back with a
lot of stuff) and a laptop is just one more thing to lug back. Relax at
the end of the day, or try to, and don't worry about keeping a journal.
You've got some long days ahead of you.
Have a great time. It's going to be strange to sit it out this year.