Feedback Friday: NCEA 2019

“Men lie, women lie / Numbers don’t.” – Jay Z


At the tail end of April, I had the chance to give a presentation to a packed house at the 2019 National Catholic Education Association conference in Chicago, Illinois. By my best count (based on the number of stickers I gave away that day) and from what the conference organizers shared via emails after the event had wrapped, we had just shy of 400 educators in the room — plus somewhere in the neighborhood of another 200 or so turned away at the door.

It was crowded.

It was loud.

And based on the feedback I received this yesterday afternoon?

It was pretty freaking awesome.

With calls for proposals for NCEA 2020 now in full swing, I reached out to the folks at NCEA to see if they could offer me any insight regarding how our last round of presentations went in hopes to help fellow educators in my school put together the most effective proposals that we could muster. Likewise, I sincerely believe that quality feedback is infinitely more important than grades, so I am extremely thankful that so many folks from NCEA19 took the time to complete the debrief survey to let me know how the day went and what I can do better for next time. The numbers are linked in the spreadsheet at the bottom of this post, but here’s some survey highlights and things I’ll be working on based on user feedback.


The Good:

“This was the best presentation I have been to in a while. So much great information backed by data. I have a million ideas after attending.”

“Phenomenal – empowering, and equipping for teachers to be able to DO it in their classrooms!”

“He was awesome. My favorite session so far!”

“One of the best presentations I’ve ever been to!”

“Very engaging. Referred to numerous high quality books throughout the presentation.”

The Bad:

“John was super engaging and really creative, but also the things seem doable. The room was too small- he could have filled a room twice as big.”

  • Note to self: whoa! Definitely re-submitting this same proposal for next year’s NCEA conference in Baltimore, Maryland, and will be including comments like these for the proposal review committee in hopes to bring the #EDrenaline Rush to an even bigger space if I get the chance to present again in the Old Line State!

“Relate lecture with subjects other than English…perhaps math, science, ss….”

  • Wholeheartedly agree. THANK YOU! If you’re reading: be sure to check out the new weekly series I’m calling “Open Source Template Tuesday.” Each week, I’m turning the website over to a guest blogger and featuring an inside look at educators who’ve adapted one of my resources to fit the unique needs of their course or content area to change the game in their classrooms! I think it’s super empowering to go “behind the curtain” to see the amazing work of creative educators regardless of the content area they’re teaching — and posts like these are a great way to see how the proverbial sausage is made to help you get a better idea of how to adapt the same design principles for any classroom imaginable.


“I liked this class but many things I wasn’t sure how to adjust it for 2nd grade.”

  • This last one is going to sound super self-serving, but I promise I’m here to help. There are a TON of detailed ideas and step-by-step approaches to how to scale and scaffold to any age group in the book! Pre-orders will be available NEXT WEEK, Y’ALL!


The Ugly:

If you’re a frequent visitor to the site, you’ll know that I am a firm believer in radical transparency. Warts and all, I think there is incredible value in shining the brightest lights on EVERYTHING that folks have to say in our classrooms, schools, and conference presentations, and so I’m always willing to put my money where my mouth is and challenge other educators to do the same in their own professional practice.

So here’s the complete spreadsheet of feedback from session attendees to my NCEA 2019 presentation of “Beyond Kahoots & Jeopardy!: Sparking Real Change in Student Engagement with Whole Class Gamification.”




Author: John

John Meehan (@MeehanEDU) is an English teacher and school instructional coach at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia. He began his teaching career in 2010 as a career switcher through The New Teacher Project, after spending five years working in social media and event marketing. He is a 2017 ASCD Emerging Leader, and an alumnus of the 2016-2018 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Advisory Council. In 2016, he was named one of Arlington, Virginia’s “40 Under 40” by the Leadership Center for Excellence. He is a past presenter and regular attendee at educational conferences throughout the United States, including the annual conference for National Catholic Education Association, ASCD Empower19, and the Play Like a Champion Today: Character Education Through Sports summer conference at the University of Notre Dame. He’s an avid runner who’s completed more than three dozen marathons, half marathons, long-distance road relays, mud runs, and obstacle course races. John lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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