Not only are Edcamps about learning, they are also about networking! I love to arrive early and listen to the buzz in the room as the session board is being built and as educators are exchanging ideas and Twitter handles.
- Seesion One - Meemic Grant Smackdown - Edcamp attendees had the opportunity to write grant proposals for two $200 Meemic Foundation grants that would be voted on and chosen by attendees of the day. During this session, I was one of 7 teachers to make a "pitch" for an idea. I wrote a grant for the purchase of additional books for our school's Taking Care collection for #TakingCareThurs, an initiative for weekly read aloud to kids of books with themes of "taking care of ourselves, each other, and the world." I am a strong advocate for teaching the "whole child" and ensuring they have the habits of mind and social/emotional skills to be successful in their educational journey. To read my grant proposal, click here. To read more about the #TakingCareThurs initiative, click here. I was honored to among all of these educators pitching their ideas to innovate and bring new ideas to their kids. I was also excited to learn about the Meemic Foundation and all the possibilities they afford teacher through the grant process. Good luck fellow grant writers in the smackdown!
- Session Two (first half) - The Power of Professional Team Building & The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team lead by Joe Reimann (@joe_reimann) - I chose to split my time during this session because I couldn't make up my mind! That's the beauty of an edcamp...you can pick up and move at any time. Joe led a great discussion on building strong collaborative teams. He also shared 2 books that I added to my "to read" shelf on Shelfari - The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni and In Praise of American Educators: And How They Can Become Even Better by Richard DuFour.
- Session Two (second half) - Lower El Game Changers led by Gina Smith (@ginapsmith) - A couple of huge tech takeaways from this session - Seesaw for student-driven digital portfolios and Osmo, an award-winning educational game system for the iPad. Thanks Gina and Elliot (@Kern2ndGrade) for sharing these great tools! I can't wait to check these out and share with other teachers in my building! I also learned about ESGI, a one-on-one assessment system for the kindergarten teacher.
- Session Three - A Conversation with Brian Whiston (@whistob), Our New State Superintendent led by John Bernia (@MrBernia) - I was so excited to see our new state superintendent coming out to an edcamp and talking with teachers. The underlying tone in the whole conversation was empowering teacher-voice. He really comes across as an advocate for teachers. He talked about his vision of making Michigan a top 10 performing state in ten years (Top 10 in 10). He also talked his goal of transforming his organization from a compliance organization to a service organization. He plans to visit over 350 schools this year and ask them "How can we help you?" Check out what he had to say captured by Michael Medvinsky (@mwmedvinsky) through Periscope by clicking here.
- Session Four - PBL, Hands-on Learning, Makerspaces for Elementary led by Kellie Determan (@determan_k) - This was a great conversation on bringing learning opportunities to our students that embrace the idea of "constructionism (Papert's theory)" vs "instructionism." What are you doing in your classroom/school to bring real-world connections and powerful learning opportunities for your kids to create meaning? We talked about The Cardboard Challenge, Makerspaces, and STEM and STEAM projects. I'm looking forward to continuing to bring some of these great opportunities to my students through "Maker Monday" and other learning experiences. Some resources Kellie shared are: instructables.com, First Robotics, Imagination Foundation, Caines Arcade, PLTW (Project Lead the Way), Edutopia and PBL, BIE (Buck Institute), and Makerspace.com. Kellie also shared with us an upcoming film entitled Most Likely to Succeed. We watched the trailer. I can't wait to see this one!