Last week was busy. Super ridiculous busy. Monday and Tuesday evening we stayed until 7:00 for parent teacher conferences. Honestly, I didn't even watch the Super Bowl because I knew I would never be able to work two twelve hour days back-to-back if I didn't have enough sleep Sunday night. It is the first time in like 10 years that I did not get together with family+friends for the big game. BUT it was my career--and I met with over 65 families between the two evenings, and taught 12 art classes and everything in between so it was worth it. Wednesday, I had my normal work day, but I also had my Master's class that night. So...yeah...I was barely home the whole week. Friday, we had the day off as we customarily do when we stay late for conferences twice in one week. I spent Friday driving to St. Louis for the EdCampSTL on Saturday. Have you been to an EdCamp?
I had never heard of one until this year, but it is a completely free, totally relevant opportunity for professional development. Need more info: Youtube Video about an EdCamp. There is an EdCamp coming to Joplin in March if you want to sign up--I will be there! Also, I posted tons of quotes about the event and pics on Twitter over the weekend. If you want to follow me on twitter its @nelliemaeii. Also, #edcampstl was totally trending on Saturday. We felt special.
They say if you can reflect on your experience, you get a LOT more out of it, so I am using this post to look back through my notes and pass on as much as possible. Bear with me if this is a super-long-not-totally-artsy-post-with-very-few-pictures. Even if you get one thing out of this post, then it was worth sharing!
On Friday, we missed the 'meet up 'at a super hip brewery in downtown St. Louis...which we skipped to go to the Fountain on Locust. OMG! Best ice cream ever. I can't stop thinking about how delicious my brownie topped with Almond Joy Ice Cream and homemade raspberry syrup was....and my hibiscus fountain soda...and the main dish: Polish Dill Pickle Potato Soup. I've never had anything like it. If you are in St. Louis, definitely check that place out, SO good and such a cool Art Deco decor.
The conference is completely FREE. So after the brief overview, we went down to the school's cafeteria (I've never been in such a cool urban school before--it was awesome!), for Einstein bagels, fruit and cream cheese for breakfast. Oh, and Starbucks coffee.
During breakfast, attendees walked around and wrote their names on big sheets of paper---signing up for time slots and giving their workshop a title. Things like: Standards Based Learning, Energize your Twitter Experience, Creating a Makers Space in your School, 3-D printing and Robotics. Seriously cutting edge topics and discussions. Someone, from the event went around and translated those into the guidebook for the day so we could figure out what rooms/times each presentation would be. And we referred to the guidebook app to put together our own personal schedules in real time. We were also encouraged to talk to people, visit a Makers Space and there was even a bus we could use to get out of the building for a bit if you wanted free transportation somewhere during the day.
The premise of an EdCamp is pretty simple. If you are in a room, and it isn't meeting your needs, you can move on to another room. You can hit several presentations in each time slot--theoretically.
Now that I have had time to digest, I wish I would've hit more sessions, I tended to stay put in the ones I attended, partially because the rooms were on 5 floors and it wasn't super easy to navigate until I got familiar with the building. I also think I have a unique perspective and I should've done a presentation or two. But since it was my first EdCamp, I was feeling really shy, next time, I will definitely present something!
The topics that interested me the most:
Zero to STEAM to Full STEAM ahead--a school district used textbook budget to implement STEAM program, buying equipment. I love the thought process behind STEAM learning and I try to implement some technology and science stuff into my lesson planning.
Augmented Reality---this was more of a discussion, I ended up heading to another one since I have used this in my classroom a couple of times
Making Learning Visible--this was by far my favorite and I have lots of quotes I will share below.
LUNCH: Pi Pizza and Planet Sub---all free and YUM
Project based learning supported by making---this one was more science-based so I ended up ducking out and heading to another session
Student Creation. Authentic Audience and Purpose--I liked this guy and now follow him on Twitter. We had some great conversations in this session. It derailed a little bit when we veered off topic and moved more towards Teacher observation tools, but I liked it overall. @jorech
iPads and other tech in the art room---I am so glad this guy decided to present, more about this one below. @mitchellspokane Since getting my own 12 iPad minis, I have been able to implement the use of technology in such a cool way....however, I do not have 1:1...it is more like 3 or 4 students per device in most classes. Which works out pretty well but I can't do entire class projects with JUST iPads. In Noah's presentation, he got a full class set of iPads in December so he has started implementing class projects with the iPads for photography and using the apps in a very different way than I use them. I really enjoyed his presentation...He let us try out some of the apps, and I walked into school today and added several of them to my student devices. Noah is in is first year at his school district, which offered a grant program to ONE teacher in his district (similar to the program our district did several years back). He was inspired by the technology application I had submitted, and even though we had never met or talked, it was so cool to see how he is using the technology in his school since getting the devices, and it was cool that I had inspired another teacher in a different district to try for such an amazing opportunity to incorporate technology. He was the only one to get the grant in his entire district and I know he will do some cool stuff with it!
- The prevailing narrative will be determined by someone else if we don't publish or share what we are doing.
- Evidence of learning--we make learning visible better when we are authentic. When student voices are present learning and authenticity it more evident.
- Teacher affirming. You know your impact through different methods of evidence.
- The student who does the talking does all the learning. Socratic seminar shows critical thinking. (I want to learn more and practice implementing the Socratic method! Teach students conversation structures to get the most out of discussions. Socratic circles are a way to do this. The first time it doesn't always go well---has to be practiced. Socratic Stems)
- Teach students how to think and evolve ideas is an important part of learning.
- We are teaching kids what to do when they are not successful. We teach them how to follow a recipe but we don't teach them how to troubleshoot when they fail.
- The struggle is the mindset.
- Celebrate and document student learning through authentic products. Power of reflection is a wonderful tool.
- Reframe the dialog--it IS cool to learn. It is fun. Learning is hard, it is not about doing something quickly or the fastest, but overcoming the struggle.
- How can we as a school make learning visible?
- How do you hit varied audiences? Multiple audiences--community, students, ourselves, our colleagues---
- Ask students share quotes from teachers from the day on Twitter. (high school idea)
- Encourage teachers to go around the building on their prep time (collegial walkthroughs) and tweet about it. Use for new teachers instead of sit and git 1/2 day trainings. Teachers need to affirm and get ideas from other teachers.
- Genius hour for staff---great idea for professional development on PD days. Give teachers TIME to invest on things that they are passionate about.
- The first time I ever create a new thing---it sucks---it is okay to admit that to kids. And encourage them to learn from that struggle. The first attempt will NOT be a masterpiece and that is okay.
- Assessment practices should not be about point accumulation. We need to value the struggle. If kids can accomplish things at the end--why are we grading them during the learning process.
- How do we meet all learning targets in 90 minutes on an exam? We can't. Authentic, real-life assessments are GOOD for kids.
- It is okay convince students that we aren't the guru, we are learning too.
- BOOKS: Intentional Talk---conversation. Total Participation Techniques---book good for all grade levels, funny. Low prep. Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart. Book for how to talk about learning to students.
- Challenge-make one unreasonable request this week.
- The joy and play of 'making' and what that does for learning.
- We USED to do projects at the end-as the dessert, but it is the meat, the dinner, to learn and actually create.
- #comments4kids on Twitter to share for an authentic audience. Kids comment on each other's work. Find complimentary activities for class projects to collaborate with other student populations to solve a problem. The creators of this # were at the EdCamp!! Such a cool idea for student blogging!
- Students don't need to compete with each other, they need to compete with what their own attempts at yesterday's learning.
- Relevance vs rigor vs compliance vs forced struggle vs levels of accomplishment. Rigor should be a challenge not a pain in the ass.
- Students are too 'soft'. Things come too easily, they want the easiest option. What gets lost between the eager, fun approach to learning in 1st, to the sour, drudgery and bad attitudes in 5th and 6th, are we beating 'it 'out of them?
- Recently I asked my students: 'If you had all of the time, money, and resources to do this project again, what would you do differently?' The majority of my students said they would pay someone to do it for them. So disappointing. But the really creative ones said they would buy a bigger canvas, better materials, or buy a real fox to use as a model so they could make it more realistic. Great reflective thinking!
Other tech tools I learned about:
Plickers--great for quick formative assessments in the classroom, data driven, game-like activity, I can't wait to try it out!!
Peardeck: interactive slidesharing (FUN!) Great for my Master’s. Works great with googledocs and if students have 1:1 chrome books
Edmoto--discussion questions make questions more visible.
Pixel Press--students can use their graph paper to design their own video games, and upload them to the site, getting an authentic audience...WOW. Seriously amazing for my summer enrichment program!
TouchCast—App with a teleprompter—touch cast!! Use on an iPad, use for WIN time (students can use their googledrive)
Art Apps to Check out:
Origami 3D app--my middle school students would love
Pottery 3D--OMG yes!
Loop for Animation
Wiki art--mc Escher (might have some inappropriate content for some artists)
Bamboo stylus--expensive and awesome, but I bought the cheapy stylus for my students, I am glad because Mr. Mitchell has already had several of his break because they don't work well with the screen protectors.
I will definitely check out the TWITTER CHAT --- every Thursday night 9pm #moedchat
Also, our school district has a TWITTER CHAT tomorrow night #wcedchat if you want to follow along or read the transcript after-the-fact, we will be delving into the following enlightening topics:
Q1(8:06): What are some things you plan to do differently after attending PCLT15? #wcedchat
Q2 (8:16): What have you already tried from the Jan PD day and how did it go? #wcedchat
Q3(8:26): What is your next planned PD topic, book, conference, or research for yourself? #wcedchat
Q4(8:36): What are some things that worked well for parent teacher conferences? #wcedchat
Q5(8:46): What would you like to do differently next year for parent teacher conferences? #wcedchat