Forming Communities of Practice

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I work with a great team here at the SGEI.  With the end of the academic year closing in on us, we have spent some time re-envisioning how we would like to address the Common Core. Since we view learning and teaching as a process of collaboration, creativity and sharing, our team has decided to form Common Core Communities of Practice.

These CoPs will focus on grassroots improvement of practice and provide a collaborative onsite/virtual workspace for teachers to connect instructional practices and inspire creative implementation, gain in-depth knowledge and take immediate action steps to enhance learning and teaching.

It’s all going to begin with a conference we have designed for August 8. The Kean Institute for the Common Core Statewide Teacher Conference will provide a professional learning experience designed for NJ teachers by NJ teachers. The day will start with a presentation by Lauren Marrocco, 2013 NJ State Teacher of the Year and continue with breakout sessions designed and facilitated by classroom practitioners. 

Please consider joining us not only for the conference on August 8, but for the Saturday morning CoP gatherings

For Edcamp Newbies

Yesterday, with the support of SGEI and Kean University, where I work, I hosted edcamp Common Core. The idea was to gather NJ educators to discuss a common theme.

Here’s what I heard from attendees in the morning before we shared opening remarks in the auditorium:

  • Why weren’t the sessions posted ahead of time?
  • Where are the experts?
  • I did not come prepared to talk.
  • I just came to listen.
  • Don’t you have any handouts for us?
  • Am I going to learn anything?

I was nervous for a bit in the morning before the session board filled. Thank goodness Ann Oro did such a good job at settling the nerves of some of the attendees and even got some of them to post sessions.

Once we all got into the auditorium I went over some basic notes on the facility and then reviewed the concepts behind an unconference. I also went over the schedule with them so that they could see what types of discussions were going to occur and possibly even add an idea of their own on the way up to the first sessions.

I ended with these rules for the day:

  1. Listen. Everyone has something to contribute.
  2. Participate. You have something to add to the conversation.
  3. Think with your feet.
  4. Have a good time.

Here’s what I heard at the share-out at the end of the day and from e-mails sent to me that evening:

  • I wanted to take a moment to express my enjoyment at today’s sessions! The conversations throughout the day were healthy, respectful, and informative among the educators in the building, I look forward to future edCamp events.
  • Thanks for setting this up.  Best day this summer.
  • Again, the conference was great and got me thinking in a lot of new ways.
  • I’m becoming an edcamp junkie.
  • Thank you so very much for the opportunity to attend the edcamp today, It was my very first time and I must admit I was a little leery not knowing what it was really about. It turned out to be an eye-opening experience. It was great to see, hear and discuss a common ground with other teachers.
  • I greatly enjoyed meeting teachers from other school districts to share our thoughts on different areas of education.  Thank you for setting up this unconference.
  • Would you please email me information on how to set up an edcamp in my school?

It’s not that I didn’t attempt to educate attendees on what the day would be like. It was all on the website that was linked to the Eventbrite. It’s just that the concept is still so new to so many people.

There are many, many more edcamps already scheduled. There’s even another in NJ on December 1. Please share our experiences from yesterday with your colleagues and future edcamp attendees.

edcamp Common Core

A few months ago, as we were planning our PD for the summer at Kean, I realized that I really wanted to provide an event at the SGEI this summer that was of no cost to educators. The theme that we chose for this edcamp is the Common Core Standards.  Educators are encouraged to gather at this event to discuss the following topics:

  • What are districts doing to implement the Common Core?
  • What am I expected to know about the Common Core Standards for the grade level(s) and content area I teach to prepare my students for the 2014?
  • What am I expected to know as a classroom teacher?
  • Just how different are the Common Core from previous state standards?
  • What kinds of professional development are available to assist with implementing the Common Core?

is proud to present this FREE event for NY and NJ educators. 
This “UNCONFERENCE” will be held at the STEM Building 
at Kean University on August 9, 2012 from 8am – 4pm.

Register for this event using
 

We are looking for educators that have been implementing the standards in the classrooms/schools/districts to join us that day and facilitate conversations at the roundtables. Please contact me directly if you are interested in helping make this event a success!