Teachers are the experts, so at every AIMS professional development event our goal is to feature the voices and ideas of the people in the classroom and those directly involved with educating young adolescents. Past events have featured classroom teachers, instructional coaches, administrators, social workers, specialists, and beyond. Whatever your role in a middle school setting may be, we want to hear from you! The Association of Illinois Middle Schools hosts multiple PD events each year, but the process to apply to be a presenter remains the same. Follow these simple steps to share your awesomeness with middle level professionals across the state!
Step 1: Brainstorm
What are you passionate about? How do you support young adolescents in your school? What is unique about your classroom environment or building?
Take a minute to consider what you and/or your colleagues do well that might benefit other schools. We grow by learning from each other and sharing about our experiences. While our classrooms might not all look the same, AIMS events are all about collaborating and finding ways to adapt new ideas that benefit students. Some schools have incredible advisory programs that could share specific social-emotional learning strategies or lessons while another building might be paving the path of progressive grading and feedback practices. We’re always looking for a variety of topics including diversity, equity, and inclusion, content specific ideas, technology, leadership and coaching, and the middle school model.
Step 2: Collaborate
Is there another colleague who shares similar philosophical ideas? Have you been working with another person in your building to create an awesome new learning experience for students? Bring them with you! If you are new to presenting, it can be nerve-wracking to present in front of a group of peers. Sometimes it can be helpful to have a friend that can take all the pressure (and eyes!) off of you. Another benefit of collaborating and presenting at an AIMS event together is the rest of the day! As a presenter, you get free registration and can attend other sessions when you’re not presenting. Having someone to bounce ideas off of and join in on the fun can make the day more enjoyable.
Step 3: Consider the Logistics
Once you’ve come up with a solid idea and thought about the content of your presentation, there’s some logistics that need to be considered.
How long will you need? Depending on the topic, you may only need 20 minutes. However, some topics need a solid hour to allow for a deeper dive into the material. AIMS events are structured to allow participants and presenters to engage in sessions of all different lengths to keep it interesting!
What will you name it? Coming up with an interesting session title name, that is specific enough to give participants a quick idea of how their time will be spent, can be tricky. Keep it short and simple. There’s room to intrigue your audience through your session description.
What goes in the description? In 5-10 sentences, you’ll need to share the basics of your session. Hook your audience by sharing why this topic is important or timely. Help educators understand how you’ll be presenting the material. Are participants actively engaged throughout your session or sitting back and soaking up new information? A quick breakdown is essential to getting people interested in attending your session.
Step 4: Submit
When AIMS puts out the Call for Proposals, it’s time to submit! Be sure to connect with AIMS on social media and get on our email list. By staying connected to AIMS, you’ll never miss the notifications when we’re getting ready for our next event. You can always check for upcoming events on the website as well: https://aimsnetwork.org/events/
AIMS events are successful because of educators around the state of Illinois sharing their ideas with one another. Whether you are new to presenting or a seasoned pro, there’s room for you at the next day of professional learning. Feel free to reach out to any board member with questions, but we’ll be looking forward to learning from you at our next event!