It’s that time of year when thousands of math educators of all types go to Palm Springs to learn from each other at the California Mathematics Council annual math conference. It is normally the first weekend in November, however there have been a few times when it was the last weekend in October. If you have never attended, you need to go for several reasons.
1. Palm Springs is beautiful. The weather was perfect, people (not me and probably not most math teachers) were in their bikinis laying out by the pool, everyone was walking around enjoying the weather. I went with my friend Jeanne, she drove, I directed and we arrived Thursday evening (as I always do). Thursday evening hosts the Palm Springs market night–but so much more than just market. Music, food, people and their dogs/ people in costumes, charitable booths–stuff to buy, eat, see, and enjoy. My favorite this year was the little doughnuts, fresh made with cinnamon topping. But a visit to Palm Springs is never complete without stopping by the fudge booth. Fresh fudge that we dream about making, but it is so much easier to buy a small amount to keep from eating too much. I bought Pumpkin and Rocky Road-both delicious. The shop is on North Palm Canyon Blvd.
2. The Conference itself is all day Friday and Saturday–8:30 to 5:00 each day (approximately) over 3 different venues–the conference center, the Hilton and the Hard Rock. Shuttles take people from one location to another and ran every 10 minutes. Hundreds of educators speak and thousands of educators attend to learn something new and exciting they can bring back to their school or classroom and many come to bring back ideas to share with their district. We all speak the same language–MATH. It is a community where we all share the same frustrations and passion which is exciting. My all time favorite presenter is Michael Serra, who announced that he is retiring from being a presenter. I get it, he is ready to move on to other things, but I will miss him. I saw his presentation Pirate Math a couple of years ago and now he has the
book–which I did not win in the raffle, so I may be force to buy it.
This is the third year I was invited to speak and spend a lot of time thinking how I can best use my 90 minutes to give the most value to people who attend. I am always very humbled and surprised at how gracious people are to me during the session. They are engaged and interested and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share my successes and failures with others. Yes, I have failures: I have a lot because I continue to experiment in the classroom every day. I continue to work and continually try fresh ideas and look for ways for students to feel successful and achieve their dreams. And it is hard work, despite the believe by non educators that I only work 7 hours a day and am overpaid. I do it because I care and I do it because I am a little bit crazy and I believe that I will make a difference. Here is the link to my presentation if you are interested….Move and Groove with Engaging Activities
I firmly believe that all of us –all educators all over the world– have the answers to the educational problems. If we could find a way to meet and just talk and collaborate, we could jointly solve all the problems without need for legislation, mandates and politicians (whether local or national) to intervene and direct us.
3. The food is wonderful. You can tell the most popular places because they are crowded and require waiting. I had pancakes at ELMER’S. I had to wait 20 minutes to be seated, it was well worth it. I would have waited longer. My friend had the Blackberry French Toast. Elmer’s has been in South Palm Springs for 40 years I think….I hope they will be there forever. Sherman’s Deli is another favorite if you long for a sandwich and potato salad. They have so much more, but I have never tried anything else and why would I when I can get my pastrami sandwich? Of course I presented at the Hard Rock so after the session I wandered in the cafe and had the Oatmeal Brulee, best oatmeal I have ever eaten. There are so many great restaurants but every year I try something new (but Elmers every year).
|Jame “Gypsy” Haake|
4. Entertainment. For people who are not familiar with Palm Springs, you can find any time of entertainment you might enjoy. Take a walk among the stars if you enjoy playing entertainment history and see if you can find your favorites. There are museums, tours of star homes, more golf courses that you could play in a month, water parks, plays, dinner theatre, musical events–the list goes on. If you want it you can find it. Over the years, I have seen plays, attended concerts, done the museums, seen a movie, toured star homes, etc. All of it done on the Conference weekend–but not during the conference. Friday night I had made a reservation to see Carnival Caberet at Oscars Cafe right on Tahquitz and Indian Canyon. It was a dinner show and I have never had such wonderful food. I have never laughed as hard or had as much fun singing along to favorite songs sung by female impersonators(I want to hate them because they make such good looking women, I need their make up and hair tips–ok not Gypsy, but he has good legs) Below see Whitney, Reba and Lady Gaga.