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.
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:
Listen. Everyone has something to contribute.
Participate. You have something to add to the conversation.
Think with your feet.
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.
On May 2, 2012 Google hosted its first conference using Google Hangouts On Air. During the 8-hour conference, there were over 40 presentations on everything from robotics to 1:1 initiatives to using Google Apps in schools. The presenters all donated their time to try this new way to present, interact and archive professional development. I have supported this form of PD over the last few years as I truly appreciate the archiving so that educators can go back at any time and watch again. Other organizations have been practicing this for a couple of years including Classroom 2.0 Live and The Global Education Conference.
Speaking of professional development. Did you read the article about the possible discontinuation of the 100 hours in NJ? I’m concerned about how the new standards for professional development are going to be determined in NJ. Though I strongly believe that teacher assessment should be driven by evaluations and student achievement gains, I also believe that there has to be a standardized directive from the administration on how much and what type of PD teachers should participate in.
What are your thoughts and concerns on requiring professional development hours for educators? How should the hours be counted? Who should determine what type of sessions are attended?
The following is a list of reading incentive programs for students. My daughters partcipated in these last summer and earned free books, prizes and even cash. Please share this list with other educators and parents and encourage children to continue reading over the summer break.
This summer BOOK IT invites kids across the country to participate in the Summer Break Reading Challenge Sweepstakes. From June 15 – August 15, kids who were in grades k-6 during the 2010-2011 school year and who meet the challenge of reading five books, will be eligible for a chance to win a prize package.
Tomorrow at the NJECC monthly meeting I’m going to speak for a bit about “Spontaneous Professional Development”. With the budget cuts in NJ schools this past year, many educators don’t have funding for PD. Our meeting this month will be about how schools are dealing with the cuts, what types of PD their districts are spending money on and of course, how we can harness the power of our networks to bring in free professional development virtually.
I hope I don’t put myself right out of business.
Here’s the slides I will be sharing along with a list of the resources I will be talking about. (Please leave a comment if you have others to add as we would all benefit from your resources.)
I’m going pretty low-tech on this post with the exception on how to access all these great summer reading resources you should be aware of.
Follow the links below to let your students, parents, colleagues (even family members) know of the great reading incentive programs available for children this summer. Some offer free books, money, even just a pat on the back.
This program is designed for students in grades 1 through 6. Read ANY 8 books, write about them in your 2010 B&N Passport to Summer Reading and bring it to a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Children then choose their free book from a list of paperback titles. The program runs May 25 through September 6. Teachers, parents and children can download the Summer Reading materials for free at http://www.bn.com/summerreading.
This program is for children ages 12 and under. To participate, children must read ANY 10 books. Download and complete this form and bring it with you to a Borders or Waldenbooks store to choose your free book. They have about ten titles to choose from.
Organized by the NJ Library Association and the NJ State Library, these committees have gathered information on book lists, films & movies, web resources, performers, program ideas, crafts and details on upcoming workshops. Also check out their site for free prizes from McDonald’s for reading 5 books.