Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sights & Sounds of San Antonio

You might remember when I left you last I was being chased by a crazed longhorn.  You'll be happy to know I escaped to San Antonio!  And if I am forced to admit it, there never really was a crazed longhorn - just a moving car, a camera and an ambling cow.  But where's the excitement in that?
I was in San Antonio to attend the International Reading Association's Convention.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to catch up on the latest in the world of teaching Reading & Writing.  Having never been to a convention such as this one before, I had no idea what to expect.  My two main goals were to try to get a bit of a grip on the Common Core Curriculum that has been adopted in most U.S. states and to see what kind of Reading/Language Arts programs are available for schools.  Friday and Saturday I attended sessions and then Sunday I roamed the exhibit halls.  And let me tell you those exhibit halls were full of fun freebies. 
This is a small sampling of the "freebies" that came home with me.  The "Be A Super Hero. READ." bag in the top left hand corner was hot, Hot, HOT!  I think there were some teachers out there about to have heart attacks if they didn't get one!  The last day of the conference the prices of things drop dramatically because companies are trying to avoid shipping things back home so I bought graphic novels and beautiful non-fiction guided reading sets at great discounts.  All in all, the exhibit hall was a lot of FUN!
A bonus to this whole conference experience was that I was in downtown San Antonio where they were in the middle of Fiesta, a celebration honoring the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jancinto.  Knowing nothing about Fiesta, much of what I observed seemed quite strange to me - long processions and the crowning of Princesses, Kings, many wearing sashes adorned with a multitude of pins.  But it was all very interesting to observe.
Here the Texas Cavaliers were crowning a new king in front of the Alamo.
There was plenty of fanfare about this late evening event.
On Monday there was a silent procession including all the princesses and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (pictured in yellow).  While they walked names were being read solemnly.  If I am not mistaken, they were the names of those who died in the Battle of the Alamo. Wreaths of flowers were laid on the lawn in front of the Alamo.
Later that evening there was a Parade of Riverboats which I quite enjoyed, having never seen a parade on water before!
Most of the boats like this one had it's own band with all the occupants rocking out to the music.
Taking in the Sights & Sounds of San Antonio during Fiesta was definitely an unanticipated bonus of attending the IRA conference. 
But I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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