Planning Tips & Tricks

Preparing for Conference

  • Label everything you bring with your school’s and/or student’ name.
  • Create a list and a label of what is in every box for your booth, and who is responsible for each box or piece of equipment.
  • Involve students in preparation.
  • Assign students specific responsibilities.
    —Two students make sure everything gets to the event and back.
    —One student is in charge of construction and appearance of the booth.
    —One student is the conference coordinator.
    —One checks website every day and notifies the facilitator and conference team of any updates. Team members take pictures and/or video to help document the experience.
  • Create a checklist with deadlines and tasks to be completed. It can be kept in a binder with other information and schedules.
  • Organize a printable calendar with details.
  • Give each student a “conference packet” when they get to Conference. Include schedules for booth times, breakout sessions, banquet times, etc., all in one multi-paged color-coded packet. Facilitator has a master copy. Items to include:
    —Schedule of events
    —Student schedules
    —Cell phone numbers
    —Breakout session schedules (Print before coming to Conference.)
    —Schedule for working the booth (requirement: two students in booth at all times).
    —Schedule for exhibit observation times (someone from the team visits every booth).
  • Hold regular team meetings.
  • Schedule a “mock” banquet one week before the conference. Emphasize manners, behavior, etc.
  • Discuss dress guidelines and make sure all participants follow them.
  • Create an emergency contact sheet for each student that includes allergies, emergency contact numbers, etc.
  • Send a letter to parents indicating what students need to wear and bring to the conference.
  • Create a document that includes expectations for students during the conference and require parents to provide home, work and cell phone numbers. Parents will need to agree to pick up their children if there are disciplinary problems.
  • Discuss safety rules with students. Never let your students go off by themselves.
  • Program all team members’ cell phone numbers in all members’ phones.
  • Practice setting up booth at school ahead of time.
  • Audition for presenting spots. Presenting students are responsible for writing their “part”. Have students and facilitators listen, then make revisions and compile entire presentation. Set up a rehearsal schedule and make sure speeches are within time limit. Facilitator can role-play as PIA judge, asking questions they might ask. REHEARSAL and good grammar are the keys.
  • Presenting students should practice their presentations daily in front of peers, teachers (including speech teachers), administration and community members.
  • Use the survival guide on the EAST Conference website.
  • Review the previous conference highlights. Also check out the photo gallery and video streams to get a feel of what to expect.
  • Encourage students NOT to bring ipods, etc. It hinders social interaction.
  • The Conference is an excellent recruiting tool. Bring extra students on Thursday!
  • Print flyers and encourage students to personally invite administration and family members to Awards Banquet.

At Conference

  • Use wheeled containers to bring in decorations and supplies.They can hold purses, etc. during the conference.
  • Follow the dress guidelines! (Even additional students attending on Thursday!)
  • Bring extra comfortable shoes.
  • Stagger lunch breaks.
  • An 11:00 p.m. curfew is in place for EAST students to be in their hotel rooms. This curfew is enforced by the hotel, EAST staff and facilitators.
  • Take up hotel room keys.
  • Take all valuables to hotel rooms each day (computers, projectors, cameras, etc.). EAST Initiative is not responsible for items lost or stolen during the event.
  • A small daily schedule and even a folded paper including names and cell phone numbers for everyone in your group can be tucked in name tag holders.
  • Attend all breakout sessions registered for.
  • To attend a session that you didn’t get to register for, go to the room 5-10 minutes before it starts to check for empty seats. Often, you will be able to attend.
  • Presenters are first to man booth so they can practice presenting in front of other students.
  • Pair up your students. They do everything in pairs: walking exhibit hall floor, going to breakouts, lunch breaks, in the booth, etc. If one student doesn’t have a cell phone, pair them with someone who does.
  • Provide notebooks for your students to take to breakout sessions. Require that all notes taken are placed in one notebook at the booth or kept for discussion after the event.
  • Many schools use family radios or walkie-talkies at Conference. These work, but with shared frequencies. It can get confusing and annoying when other schools use your designated channel.
  • Wireless internet is an option on the exhibit hall floor, although it is not always guaranteed (from past experience).

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This page was last updated on Monday, October 11, 2010 at 3:29:36 PM | View update history