NJEA’s 155th annual Convention is just a few weeks away. On Thursday and Friday, Nov. 5 and 6, thousands of your colleagues from around the state will be gathering in Atlantic City for a professional development experience like no other.

In last month’s NJEA Review, you read about all that will be new this year, such as plenary speakers Rachel Simmons and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. You learned about an expanded Technology Integration Showcase, as well as such Convention highlights as the State Board of Education Forum, the Commissioner of Education’s address and the Frederick L. Hipp Foundation Celebration of Excellence.

But don’t forget another great reason to “Convention”—the exhibitors.

What’s on the floor?

If you’ve never been to the NJEA Convention, you’ll be amazed by the vast expanse we call the convention floor. Hundreds of exhibitors, representing everything from textbook companies to field trip destinations, line the aisles on Halls B, C, and D.

You’ll also find the New Members’ Lounge and Authors’ Alley where you can meet NJEA member-authors. Visit the Deborah Health Fair in the back of Hall C for a blood pressure test and other screenings. The pension area features staff from the Division of Pensions to answer your questions. You can even go shopping in the Marketplace!

If you’ve ever considered applying for a grant from NJEA’s Hipp Foundation, be sure to stop by the Great Ideas Forum. It’s also the perfect spot to get ideas from colleagues who have implemented the following innovative projects in their classrooms:

  • Aqua Culture Across the Curriculum—Students from Middle Township High School (Cape May County) are involved with the project to farm tilapia, a fish grown worldwide as a food source.
  • Bats N’ Bugs – Developing Respect for Nature—Students at Winfield School in Winfield (Union County) studied bats, then worms, and finally insects so they understood the importance of these creatures to the earth’s ecosystem.
  • Come Fly with Us—At Linwood Middle School in North Brunswick (Middlesex), a group of county and community professionals serve as mentors and advisors for students as they test and fly model aircraft.
  • Get Graphic at Your Library-- Fifth- through eighth-grade students at Hopewell Crest School in Bridgeton (Cumberland County) completed surveys that help educators gauge students’ interest in reading graphic novels and attending after school book clubs.
  • Rolling Research Library-- Educators at the Milford Public School in Hunterdon County created portable libraries containing updated research and reference books in rolling carts for use by the entire school population of pre-K-8 students.
  • Solar Environmental Lab-- Students in grades six through eight at Berlin Community School in Camden County enrolled in math, technology, and pre-engineering programs design and build a solar environmental lab thatis powered by solar panels.
  • Summer Splash II: ESL Parents Jump Into Literacy—This project encourages parents and other family members at the Washington Avenue School in Pleasantville (Atlantic County) to help children increase their recreational reading during the summer, and other times when school is not in session, through workshops, presentations, and social events.
  • The Great Solar Challenge--Experimental Learning in Elementary Science—Fifth-grade students at Thomas Sharp Elementary School in Collingswood, Camden County, experienced many hands-on learning opportunities by studying renewable energy sources, including building models of solar cars.
  • Weather Wizards-- Preschool, first-, and fourth-grade students at Old Farmers Road School in Washington Township, Morris County, used two weather stations to monitor and gather data, record changes, and analyze the effect of weather on their lives.
  • Habitats and Open Meadows for the Environment—Explore strategies for using your school grounds as a teaching tool. Investigate how school yards can be used to develop critical thinking and research skills.

Several professional organizations and NJEA committees staff booths in the NJEA Service Center. There you’ll also find the Newsletter Display, the AID-NJEA booth, the Information Booth, and the Dimitriadis Boothwhere you can purchase an array of items, including NJEA logo apparel. Stop by and meet NJEA staff members and gather materials at booths representing each of the Association’s divisions.

Finally, don’t miss an opportunity to win big! Visit the NJEA Member Benefits section of the exhibit floor and enter a drawing to win prizes. This year’s giveaways include

  • Three nights in a first-class hotel in San Francisco with a two-day Go San Francisco card. Roundtrip airfare for two people from either Newark Liberty or Philadelphia International is included. The trip must be taken between Jan.1, 2010 and Dec. 1, 2010. Courtesy of Bravo Tours
  • Three-days, two-nights (midweek) for one couple at one of the following Pennsylvania resorts: Cove Haven, Paradise Stream, or Pocono Palace. Breakfast and dinner are included. Free passes for skiing or waterpark fun at Camelback Mountain will be included. Courtesy of Caesars Pocono Resorts & Camelback Mountain
  • $100 gift card good at Premium Seats USA for tickets to any of their events.
  • A very special gift basket from the Chelsea Premium Outlets
  • Two splash and ride combination passes and a beach goodie bag from Morey’s Piers.

You can also enter a separate drawing for a seven-day/six-night stay at an Orlando condo resort with two five-day Disney tickets, courtesy of Access. Other NJEA Member Benefits business partners will be also be giving away prizes.

The drawings will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6. You do not need to be present to win.

Speaking of giveaways, be sure to spend some time at the Technology Integration Showcase. Four drawings will be held each day; the prizes are an iPod Touch, a SMART Board™, a Flip™ video camera and a netbook.

Finally, be sure to go online to njeaconvention.org to plan your visit to the exhibit floor with “My Expo,” a virtual trade show. You can search exhibitors by name or category and view company and product descriptions. Use this tool to create your personalized guide before you arrive in Atlantic City.

Need another good reason to visit NJEA’s Convention website? How about a one-night stay and dinner for two at Harrah’s (to be used by October 2010) and one $50 gift card to The Walk shops (provided by Harrah’s and ACCVA). Just enter October’s NJEA Convention Web Giveaway and you could be a winner!

NJEA cares!

Every year, NJEA selects a charity so that Convention-goers have an opportunity to help others as they gather in Atlantic City. This year’s charity is the American Heart Association.

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association (AHA) is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases affecting people of all ages including children, the organization funds cutting-edge research, conducts lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocates to protect public health. To learn more, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit americanheart.org.

So what can you do? The American Heart Association is in need of the items listed below. You can drop off your donations at the AHA booth in the Convention Center Atrium or the NJEA Service Center.

Technology/Appliance

  • 5000 Lumen LCD projector with long throw lens
  • HP Color LaserJet 4050DN printer
  • Energy efficient high hat lights
  • Electric fans

Gift Cards/Gift Checks

  • American Express, MasterCard, Visa
  • Staples, Office Max
  • Michael’s Arts & Crafts, AC Moore
  • Oriental Trading Company
  • ShopRite (or other major grocery chain)
  • Home Depot, Lowe’s
  • Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s Club

Other

  • First Aid Kits
  • Hand truck – heavy duty.

You may also mail a donation (check or money order) to American Heart Association, 1 Union St., Robbinsville, NJ 08902, Attention T. Perry. Please include a note specifying the donation be associated with the NJEA 2009 Convention.

Don’t miss it!

It may be too late to book your room at special NJEA rates, but it’s not too late to come on down. Check your Convention Go Guide, attached to your NJEA desk calendar, for tips on using public transportation for a day trip to Atlantic City. A few county associations also run buses to the Convention, so call your county office.

Program changes

By now you should have received your NJEA Reporter Convention Program. The following changes came to our attention after printing:

  • The workshop "Get Moving to Better Learning! Exercise in Your Classroom," has been cancelled. It was scheduled for 9:30-11 a.m. on Thursday.
  • “Algebra ‘Brush Up’ for Middle School Teachers” will now be presented by Mendham teachers Gloria Clausen and Deb Mellet. The workshop is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 6 from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
  • The following workshop for ESPs has been added on Thursday, Nov. 5. “Secretarial and Clerical Professionals – Improving Your Workday” will be presented by NJEA UniServ Representative Vickie Walsh. It will run from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in Room 312. No PD certificates will be issued for this workshop.

  • “Get Creative with Glogster” will not be offered at the Technology Integration Showcase. It was scheduled for Friday afternoon.