Taking the Next Step: Creating a Convention Session Proposal

Jeff Danielian

In schools across the country, teachers like myself are looking forward to the holiday break, which brings much-needed time and distance from the daily classroom’s activities. It will be a time for celebration, rest, and relaxation. It will also be a time for reflection. As you sit at home and ponder the New Year ahead, consider submitting a proposal for the NAGC 70th Annual Convention (NAGC23), held in November 9-12, 2023, at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Perhaps you have thought about submitting before or are already contemplating doing so this year. Maybe you are a bit apprehensive. Let this column be your motivation to do submit a proposal to present at NAGC23!

I can clearly recall the first time I submitted, the first time my session was accepted, and the first time I presented at the NAGC convention. It was exhilarating! To stand before a group of students and teach is one thing, but nothing can prepare you for the excitement you feel standing in front of an audience of professional educators sharing curricular ideas and materials. Looking back on it now, I realize it was the catalyst for years of presentations to come.  

As educators, we certainly have firsthand knowledge of student needs, what works and what doesn’t—All valuable information, activities, ideas, and lessons to share with an audience.

K-12 educators make up the majority of the NAGC audience and they are hungry for practical information that they can take back to their schools and apply immediately. Consider what learning activities you use. Think about those lessons that the students, administrators, and other faculty rave about. What are your methods? Have you been involved in developing a new program? Is there a unit of instruction you enjoy delivering? What are your favorite resources? These are just a few questions that can shape an excellent submission.

Have I persuaded you, yet? If so, read on.

The first step is to visit and register on the submission site. There are a few items to fill out and some decisions to make. NAGC has 16 networks, and you will need to choose to which one you will submit your proposal. You can read about their specifics for submissions here.

The next step is to think of a title for your presentation, and honestly, try to be as creative as possible. Remember that your submission will be read by at least three reviewers, so pull them in right away.

Next comes a 60-word short description and a 250-word extended description to explain your presentation. I suggest writing the 250-word description first and then edit that version to fit the 60-word description. Be concise and get to the point. Consider the objectives and goals you have for the session. What instructional strategies will you present? What do you want the attendees to come away with? Will it be interactive? Will you provide materials? What are the learning objectives? You’ll need to enter up to three of these.

NAGC provides the scoring rubric reviewers use. It is intended to ensure that accepted sessions support NAGC’s mission and represents quality information. Because this is NAGC, reviewers are looking for a connection to gifted students. Each network also has a specific rubric question to consider. There are also questions about audience and grade level. That is about all it takes. I think you will find the site very user friendly.

Each moment spent in the classroom provides the opportunity to make a change in the lives of your students. Sharing what you do and what you know at an NAGC convention greatly expands your classroom beyond the four walls you are accustomed to. Your unique and creative ideas can spread far and wide. Plus, there are lots of other sessions for you to attend to enrich your own learning and teaching.

The time has come to be proud of what you have accomplished in the classroom and share it with others. Give it a shot! The NAGC23 Request for Proposals deadline is January 20, 2023, 11:59 PM PT. Make it your New Year’s resolution, and just do it!