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36 thoughts on “iFLT”

  1. I have hoped to go to iFLT because a Minneapolis-suburb friend might be able to let me stay with her. But is that reasonable? Maybe the distance is too far, and I’d either short-change my time with people after conference hours, and/or short-change my friend who I don’t want to treat like a hotel where I crash late at night.
    How far from a near western suburb of Minneapolis to that suburb of St. Paul, realistically?

  2. Hey Diane,
    Generally, you can count on 30 minutes to crisscross the cities. What’s the suburb your friend is in? If a bit north or south it may be easier (and shorter, timewise) to go around.
    But, the Country Inn is giving a great rate of only $89/night, which is pretty great.

  3. That’s a nice part of MPLS!
    So, I’m going to suggest that it’s not that long of a drive. You’ll see a little rush hour traffic close to her house in the morning time, but it’ll open up quickly, as you’re headed away from downtown. I’d guess 25 min or less. The high school is actually right off 494 – less than 1/2 mile. So, it’s going to be pretty much a straight shot for you.

  4. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    We (3 of us from Winnetka Public Schools) have sent a proposal for iFLT and hope to present “Elementary toolbox for newbies,” and/or “Adapting/creating reading materials & FVR for the elementary T/CI classroom.” I hope our stars line up and we are accepted/invited, AND if so, that our district sponsors our presentation!

  5. IFLT is also unique in that because it takes place in a school, the day ends in the afternoon rather than close to dinner. People are spread out over a number of hotels/airbnb/friends’ homes and tend to “do their own thing” after dinner because there isn’t one central hotel. Staying at a friend’s house would not keep you out of the loop there like it might at NTPRS.
    I’m so happy for you Grant that you, and your hometown, have been chosen for this conference! Congratulations!! The lab teachers are going to be amazing. Wish I could be there.
    with love,

  6. I suspected you were involved in this conference, Grant, since it’s in your hometown. I most likely will be there. My wife likes the idea of making it a little family trip. We also have a friend we can stay with, most likely. Represent!

    1. Looking forward to meeting the family Sean… you’re expecting a baby this Winter yet right? I traveled to NTPRS in St. Louis in 2011 with my then 3 month old, worked out well because Midwest was in a heatwave and the hotel had good A/C, which our house did not.

  7. I will be submitting my request for staff development funding for my former student teacher (and now full-time Spanish/ESL teacher in the district) to attend. I would like to stay at a hotel extremely close to where it’s going to be held because I really do NOT like driving in big cities. Walking distance would be great…if that’s even possible. If you have any suggestions I would appreciate them here or on the MN CI facebook page. Thanks Grant.
    Pat R
    Worthington, MN

  8. Great to hear all this!
    I’m soooo looking fwd to seeing you all!
    Pat, the Best Western is the closest hotel. You should know that it’s in a first ring suburb of St. Paul, not urban St. Paul. It’s 1.2 miles or 25 miinutes walking time to the high school from the BW.
    Driving, if you can, would be 3 min. and easy. See this map here:
    Alisa, I hope Carol accepts one of your proposals!
    Sean, I look fwd to meeting your family!
    Laurie, I really wish you could be there!
    What about the other 350 people on this blog???

    1. Thank you very much Grant for the hotel info and map. I think I might actually be able to drive that much. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear back from my staff dev committee and am hoping they say yes. Looking forward to meeting everyone in person. Thanks again.
      Pat R
      Worthington, MN

  9. Thank you for saying that Diane. Yes, I am going with the intent of coaching in the morning, afternoon and evening and beyond. Grant has been on the hunt for an actual room for the evening sessions. The schedule is coming out soon. I am also working doing coaching with Diana and Katya on some morning beginning sessions. I’m in. Sean and Jim and others with small children and family there, bring them. The more we make these conferences places where it feels like a real family, the more it will resemble a real family. Time to take the stick out of … conferences.

    1. That makes me want to find a way to get there. (Also if Katya Paukova is there, it would be nostalgic for me. She taught my first TPRS training about 5 years ago.)
      Even though I was only able to go to part of some war room evenings at NTPRS last year, it was great:
      1) to get to meet and hang around with many of the talented people in this PLC and beyond;
      2) to get to be an actor in a story for the first time in my life;
      3) to teach in front of anyone (except a few bried admin visits — totally different!), which was terribly anxiety-producing, but also a really tremendous experience, and has helped me get over that fear;
      4) to get to enjoy watching and responding to many other teachers’ teaching. The language pieces I remember and that STILL run through my head at times are Scottish Gaelic and Tamil. Romba pasheram – talks a lot;
      5) to see many different teacher styles and approaches, and absorb ideas from that.
      So, I recommend being a part of that kind of experience.

        1. Was Craig like Brad Pitt or something? I do recall he was a very sore loser. I’m quite sure Abby won that game.
          Meanwhile, the real chicken Abigail Adams continues to thrive here in our hen house in Colorado. She laid an egg today. I don’t know how many people realized I was talking about one of my own pet chickens! So I could experience it — personalizing works. So did acting instead of just watching. I am not most drawn to acquire Spanish (I love Asian languages) and it helped to have my chicken in the story. It was fun to experience that.

          1. You did own that chicken. My deal that night and after you left Diane was how Ray started a chant for me to do a story, but after six hours in the War Room and at 12:30 in the morning. Daniel was acting, Craig Sheehy was the best monorail driver I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of monorail drivers (well, not that many) and 50 phone cameras were trained on me for the entire story. That was nervous. But, we did it. We all got up and taught. Jason Bond’s Gaelic lesson also stuck in my head. They all did. It was great. Grant if you read this what’s the deal on a physical War Room? Can we find one? The problem is going to be for the evening sessions since at iFLT with it being in a school during the day we don’t have hotel access in the evenings like we did at NTPRS which I won’t attend this year.
            OH and I heard that Linda Li is going to be in MN. Hello!!!!

          2. I know that Annick also plans to go. If there was a chance to talk about reading in Chinese… I would be really interested in being there. Linda & I emailed about that a few months ago. I mean reading.

          1. Having a little visit, Ben, sounds lovely. I could swing by there. I’m not that far away. 6:30 would be a good time to stop by.

  10. Hey,
    I’m sure that iFLT will continue to be a great conference with Grant collaborating with Carol. Ben..I’m a bit surprised by this comment “This means it will be better than in previous years.”
    Should I be offended? Our evals from 2010-2013 were amazing…that is why I decided to continue as director/co-director. This is the first year that I haven’t been in a director role… But I will be there as the beginning workshop presenter!

  11. Don’t be offended. I can honestly say that my intent above, knowing who will be there, is that it will just keep getting better. I do think that, in my own iFLT classrooms in the past, at least, the learning labs could have been better, possibly because of my own excessive use of English in my attempts to norm the class in what was in fact their first week with me. It may have been just me, but the groups of kids, at least in my classes, were so small and lacking in real representation. The stress is so high for those workshop teachers to make things work Wednesday through Friday at a high level with kids we just met on Tuesday. Nobody knows how high that stress is. So I asked Sabrina to take over and she has as you know raised the bar, along with the other DPS teachers that you are so right to brag on. So yeah you have reason to question my diss of past years. But it’s my blog. I will say that even a bad Learning Lab iFLT class vastly outweighs the “presentations” format of other conferences where too often it’s all about the ability of a presenter to wow the group than set the attending teachers on a firm and sound forward footing with CI. How many conferences can teachers attend without getting to either see the real thing in action with real kids or teach their colleagues themselves. That presenting thing is just so 20th century. Now, I see it about teachers working together, standing on their feet and teaching, like Laurie and the Maine group have done so much over the years, or, as in learning labs where they observe the CI process. I learned more from watching Julie teach a few weeks ago than I could have in 100 presentations and I mean that. It gets the CI process in your body when you watch it live. There is no feverish note taking. By the way Laurie has a workshop coming up in Massachusetts. (I will post that information.) When do we get the 2014 Denver iFLT videos? No, anything you and Carol and now Grant is involved in is going to be a great training experience for beginners and advanced teachers alike because of the freshness of the conference. I can’t say that for all conferences. T’en fais pas ma chère, tout va bien.

  12. Thanks, Diana, for mentioning that! I was a bit curious about it as well. Please know that I’m focusing my efforts on the local level – making sure that our site works well for us, the hotels are decent and that there’s good coffee for us to drink.
    One of my main focuses is student enrollment for the Learning labs. My goal is to have real secondary classes. The elementary class will be relatively easy to fill. but, it’s the secondary ones that will be toughest.
    As far as my own Learning Lab, I’m excited that I have a solid group of my own students who are interested. That means I’ll hopefully be able to show folks what it can look like after a year’s time, vs having to norm a new class which, as you say, Ben, is a real challenge.
    I also feel like the format of this conference is fresh and superior to others. I’m working with our state world language council to advertise in MN and WI. I’m excited about how this could boost our CI network here in the upper midwest!
    If any of you are involved in your neighboring statewide WL orgs, let’s pool efforts and get the word out. I’d love to see a 300+ conference!
    As for the WarRoom, I’m verifying, but I think the hotel with the best option for that is the Country Inn. I’ll get back to you on that.
    Ben, should we start a new post for iFLT War Room 2015?

    1. We have a Chicagoland TCI group meeting in late February. I’ll be sure to highly recommend Señor Boulanger the Bakerman’s iFLT conference then. Yet, with Alisa and the Winnetka3 also involved, I won’t need to persuade our folks much. I might offer to take a couple people with me on the road up to MN if they need a ride.

  13. Grant I will wait until Carol publishes the iFLT schedule. Even though I am coaching at the morning and afternoon sessions, I am only calling any evening sessions actual War Rooms. But now we need to make sure we have a physical room in the evenings as I said above and I know that you have been working on that and thank you.
    Does anyone think we need to make the evening war room sessions, if we can find a room, smaller? Last year in both Denver and Chicago we planned on 15, for the emotional safety piece, and ended up with 30 to 50 working late into the night, or just observing if they wanted.
    I know that Carol is carefully limiting my other daytime sessions to 15 and so those are safe. She told me to announce on the blog here, and I’m saying it here, that those daytime sessions will be on a first come first served basis.
    My dream is coming true of us doing summer teaching together – not talking about it – in an atmosphere of trust and safety in an effort to teach better by teaching each other and processing after ten minutes. Last year I was accused of taking too many notes on the ten minute sessions, or letting people go on too long so others couldn’t work, but I don’t agree. It doesn’t matter – what we did was in my view revolutionary in the TPRS community because we all left our egos at the door and opened our hearts to each other.
    To use a term from medieval France, those were de très riches heures, some truly happy hours, spent with people I love. Please allow me to quote from one of my favorite French authors here. This is Stendhal’s beautiful definition of happiness:
    Un bavardage sans détour, et la présence de ceux qu’on aime….
    An endless conversation, and the presence of those one loves….

  14. I really want to go, but it’s a 13 hour drive with two tiny children. I could fly, but not with two tiny children, not to mention, the expense! Too bad no war room in DC. 🙁

  15. You guys could easily do a war room in DC. I don’t have to be there. All that is needed is trust and openness to teaching in front of peers. For example, Jason Bond will be there and he knows the format. Lots of us from this group will be there. (I will be in Paris visiting my homeboys Molière and Lafontaine that week so it wasn’t a hard decision.) We can organize something here. It’s in the evening anyway so absolutely no conflicts with other sessions people might want to attend. I fail to comprehend, when we have but three or four days per year to be together, why we don’t use the precious evenings at these conferences. So is anybody in our PLC who knows the basic format willing to run an evening war room in DC? Sean? Buehler? Anyone? We gather at around 6:30 in some room that we won’t get kicked out of so we can work until as late as we can stay awake, people get ten minutes, then we just process what we saw, no criticism, just happiness, and then the next teacher gets ten minutes, unless it’s Gaelic (Jason) in which case he gets an hour because the sound of that language is BADASS. Do it. Set it up in the comment fields below. We only need someone who knows how it works to be in charge. We know and trust each other enough to do it by now right?

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