I attended EdCampLakeCounty over the weekend. EdCamp is a voluntary, free professional development opportunity, for teachers, by teachers. I love how you have the choice to attend whatever suits your needs that day and if a conversation isn’t helpful to you that no one takes offense if you move somewhere else. I’ve attended several of these in the past and always walk away with SOMETHING to use in my class along with a new energy for my classes. This weekend’s experience had that same effect. I am excited to share some of my favorite takeaways from the day.
I learned about hyperdocs through a Twitter post recently so when I saw this session get proposed I jumped all over it. Hyperdocs are just Google docs, such as a doc or slides, that you can use to push out content to your students. They allow you to change parts in real time if something isn’t working out and allow you to reuse lesson/unit plans from year to year. One teacher commented that she uses them so much that students automatically know what to do when students come into her room each day however, she does not like that predictability. I liked how it seemed like hyperdocs would allow students to self-direct their learning and that I as a teacher could be more like a guide-on-the-side. There appears to be a nice Facebook community to support this idea along with an entire book, Twitter account, and website devoted to the resources. Since I start next semester with trigonometry, I think I will wait to try to employ this strategy until the next unit in my classes.
I guess this might be my EdCamp “thing” to do is propose this session. I recommended this one and had a turn out of about 4 people. With a group this small it is AWKWARD to leave the session, luckily I liked the conversation we had. We talked about improving mindset and how Jo Boaler has some great talks and resources available for teachers. I’ve been super hyped about using Polygraph, so I showed the others how it worked and they seemed to like the platform. When we got to talking about numbersense and how to build it we discussed using Clothesline math and Estimation180 to get at those skills. Someone mentioned the idea of a student created Kahoots and I liked that idea, however, sometimes our students are over-Kahooted so I don’t know if I will utilize this idea very soon. My biggest takeaway is that I want to use student mistakes better in class. Similar to My Favorite No. I think that second semester I want to incorporate a better strategy into my bellwork that includes a whole bellwork day of the week for “my favorite no”…maybe My-Favorite-No Mondays.
I’ve also got to work on getting more math people to these conferences – they are such a rich place to gain PD.
To be honest, I didn’t go to this session but I lurked during lunch and ended up with some great takeaways even though I wasn’t privy to the conversation. I need to do some more research on Amazon’s contribution to the teacher community, Amazon Inspire. It has the familiar Amazon search engine but is related to worksheets. I did not get any hits from the #MTBoS community on this resource so I am skeptical that it is ALL good but some of it might be useful. For lesson planning or rubric making it appears that Themespark.net might be a good option. I liked how it was linked to the standards and already had descriptors in place. If I ever make that jump to standards based grading/learning/reporting this might be a good resource for me. My BIGGEST takeaway was the One Tab app for Chrome which takes all of your open tabs and collapses them into a single tab that you can name and reopen. I think for future EdCamps that this extension could be super useful especially for my blogging after the event (like how I am using this today).
I am not new to this idea, however, this was a reminder that it is a great option for my class. The teacher who was using the format was doing so with an AP Stats class so I am confident that this would be a great place to start if I wanted to flip an entire class since I would have the most control over that class. I like the idea of having more one-on-one time with students and that they can control the pace a little more. Coupled with some Hyperdocs we could do some amazing things here. I am concerned about my students ability to connect to the internet at home but I think that I need to work on a Donors Choose Project that would fund hotspots to be checked out of my classroom for a year….hmmmm….wonder if that is even possible.
I love the EdCamp experience so much and would LOVE to bring this concept to an institute day at my school. The person who spoke about the concept said that the following happened after their institute EdCamp:
- several committees were formed that day
- several committees were able to act on the steps discussed such as student surveys and discipline
- most teachers were invested in the process
- 100% of the teachers participated at the beginning of the day
Now I just have to figure out the people at my school that I can talk to to make this a possibility. I love the choice, the opportunity for everyone in the room to feel empowered, and the opportunity to grow. Maybe if I apply it to a lesson in my own class I could ask an administrator to come in to see and hopefully they could see the potential as a school initiative.
Huge props to the organizers of the event. Loved the breakfast and lunch offerings. I loved the conversations I had with others during the event. The facilities at Carmel High School were fabulous and the internet connection was flawless. The student helpers were great! (Side story: as we walked to our first session students pointed out the way and one student said “Go down this hallway and then…take…a right…aaaattt….Jesus?”…with all of those pauses – so cute and authentic – I loved it). I highly recommend this EdCamp to others who want to give it a try.