From Left to Right: McKenzie Melton (Blogger), Christina Kline, Emily Pleasants, Georgia Skipper

This past weekend, on March 17, 2017, I attended my first VSRA conference thanks to the travel grant that was given to me by Longwood’s College of Graduate and Professional Studies.Our first session was with Steven Layne, who spoke to all attending about how important solid read alouds are for students of all ages. His powerful and moving example on how to truly engage students in a text was a model for all professionals in that room. I was then able to attend three concurrent sessions: the first having to do with station activities and ideas for primary grades, the second having to do with how to bring technology into the classroom, and finally, how to connect dance and other art forms to writing. I enjoyed my final concurrent session the most; I enjoyed hearing about the event that she and a local dance teacher held for their community and talking with other professionals about how something similar could be brought to the classroom. I believe every student has a passion and strength, and sometimes those do not include oral presentations. Giving students the option to show their mastery of the content through art forms will engage and build a positive self-efficacy into students who are not really understood in the typical classroom setting. I could not be more excited to use all of the skills and practices I learned during VSRA in my future classroom, and I plan on attending the conference every year from now on!