Have you heard of the newest movement in Professional Development? It’s called Ed Camp and it all started here in Philly.
What is Ed Camp? The following two video shorts explain it very well. Scroll below the videos to see pictures and my reflections about my first Ed Camp experience as well as additional Ed Camp resources.
If you have the chance to participate in an Ed Camp, do!
You will not be disappointed.
My Ed Camp Philly 2012 Experience!
This was my first Ed Camp. It was so much fun listening to and talking with other educators. No matter what the field or grade band, we all shared one thing: a passion for learning. Here’s how the day went:
1. Arrival. Ed Camp is not open to walk-ins. All attendees had pre-registered. This year’s camp was held in the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
2. Once checked in we immediately walked into the planning room where educators suggested topics of discussion and planned their day. There was plenty of chatter and excitement about the day and it’s possibilities.
In addition to the break out sessions, there was the opportunity to spend time in deep discussion on a particular topic. This is called the Inquiry Room. The topic of discussion for the Inquiry Room was determined by suggestion and then vote. Teachers wrote their ideas on flip chart and voted by placing dots next to the topic they would like to explore in depth. The Inquiry Room topic of choice: Blended Learning. All of this activity, sharing and snacks took about an hour.
3. The next activity was a quick opening assembly where the expections of the day were explained.
Ed Camp “housekeeping”:
What to expect
“Rule of two feet”
The Inquiry Room
“Leave no trace”
Security sign-in (required)
Lunch & after-party details
4. The schedule revealed (let the Twitter chat begin! #edcampphilly):
5. Two morning session time blocks. I’ll post some pictures of what it looked like.
Students participated in a presentation about physics, gaming and social networking.
There was time for networking and professional sharing.
6. Lunch: An hour of meeting, eating and sharing
7. The afternoon sessions-two more sessions of learning and sharing. What’s great about Ed Camp is that everyone participates and shares in every session.
8. The Smackdown. The end of the day was a celebration and sharing. A smackdown is where people wanting to share have two minutes to do so. It’s fast and furious and fun! I’ll post some pictures from the experience.
The sharing (more sharing of important Ed Camp resources below pictures):
The incredible Ed Camp Philly organizers:
Ed Camp resources: Ed Camp Philly Ed Camp started in Philly. It is a result of gifted educators–and they met online!
Ed Camp Foundation Ed Camp has gone global in just two short years. I know why-it’s an amazing Professional Development experience.
Ed Camp Wiki Thinking you might like to host an Ed Camp? See this wiki for the how-to’s!
The ASCD conference was in Philadelphia this year making it very convenient for my HHSD colleagues and me to attend the three day event. My friend, Joyce Valenza, and I traveled to and from the conference every day and this is how I came to have the most unexpected and delightful conference experience.
As a blogger (and friend of Joyce), I was invited to participate in the press room activities. The perks of this experience were:
(1) Saturday I shared lunch and spoke with Matt McClure, superintendent of Cross County Schools in Cherry Valley, Ark., andLiliana Aguas, a teacher at Leconte Elementary School in Berkeley, Calif., winners of the association’s prestigious 2012 Outstanding Young Educator Award (OYEA). Both are amazing.
“As superintendent of Cross County Schools, Matt McClure has tackled the challenges of a rural school district and instituted an effective school turnaround program focused on the whole child. During his time as superintendent, McClure led a school revitalization process that effectively improved student achievement by turning around all the schools in his district from School Improvement Status to successful schools that focus on teaching standards that are relevant to students and have a real-world connection. In addition to improving district academics, McClure has instituted daily physical fitness classes, homework help, student tutoring, and enrichment activities that keep learning fun and students engaged.
During his time as superintendent, McClure also opened Arkansas’s first New Tech school and oversaw the opening of a medical facility on a school campus built to serve both students and community members. The Arkansas Department of Education has recognized McClure’s district as a Coordinated School Health district, and each weekend schools send home backpacks full of healthy foods to families in need. The district also offers an after-school program with cooking classes so the students can prepare and serve healthy snacks.” ASCD
“Liliana Aguas, is a 2nd grade dual-language immersion teacher at Leconte Elementary School in Berkeley, Calif. Aguas is committed to educating the whole child by promoting a genuine sense of community where students learn cooperatively, are intellectually challenged, and have their learning needs met through differentiated instruction. Aguas’s students participate in activities that promote self-discovery, such as creative writing, reader’s theater, and multicultural literature exploration. Aguas also creates a classroom environment that promotes student discovery of surrounding culture, bilingualism, and social justice.
Aguas’ classroom is a living environment designed for project-based learning, featuring a native plant garden and a tadpole and caterpillar habitat. Recently, Aguas held an international fair for her students and parents with poster presentations and a potluck, featuring dishes and music from the different countries the students researched. Aguas establishes strong partnerships with her students’ families and hosts “cafecitos,” or coffee time, with her Spanish-speaking parents.” ASCD
(2) Sunday I participated in a round-tablewith several ASCD authors including Heidi Hayes Jacobs. Joyce has permitted me to post her recording of the discussion we shared with Ms. Hayes Jacobs.
(3) What I found most interesting and fun about serving in the press room were the other bloggers. Many of these people I follow-they are part of my PLN and I met them in person. I felt like a Justin Beiber groupie must feel! I heard myself say several times, “Oh my gosh-I read your blog/twitter feed all the time. I can’t believe I’m actually meeting you!”
Here are the educators that I enjoyed talking to in the press room:
When I was not in the press room, I attended several great presentations. I’ve been studying eportfolios this year and found a great learning centered portfolio in Williston, VT. I also learned a lot about social networking and it’s impact on learning. More on what I learned on these topics to come…
The Suburban Schools Study Council membership includes current and retired school superintendents from Bucks and Montgomery (Pennsylvania) counties. My school district superintendent asked me to speak about community based learning at a recent council meeting. I was humbled and proud to have this invitation. My presentation and slide notes:
Having a mentor in my life and serving as a mentor to others has always been important to me. My first mentor in education was a man many of you may know. His name is Bill Leary. Dr. Leary was my first superintendent. He believed in me and encouraged me always. Knowing his high expectations set the bar for my work. If you know anything about Dr. Leary (and most in the room did know him) you know that Bill bleeds blue and white. He is a proud Penn Stater. Like Bill Leary, Joe Paterno was also a great mentor.
At the recent Memorial for Joe Jimmy Cefalo spoke about the impact of Joe Paterno’s mentorship on his life. In Jimmy’s last term of his college career, he was finished playing football and his major requirements were complete. He planned to have some fun in that last semester in the “Happy Valley.” Paterno called Jimmy to his office. Waving Jimmy’s less-than-challenging schedule in his hand Joe told Jimmy that he was better than that schedule. You see, Joe’s challenge was always-“Today you are going to get better or you are going to get worse, but you are never going to stay the same.” Jimmy had no additional value to provide the PSU football team. But he did have value to Joe Paterno. Joe cared and Jimmy knew it. Jimmy walked out of that office with a different schedule. Now that is mentorship.
As educators, we are challenged with the same issue: keeping our students plugged in to learning until graduation day and making them believe they matter–that someone cares what they do and what they become. I believe that Hatboro-Horsham’s Community-Based Learning opportunities challenge our students to make a clear choice: to get better. “Today you are going to get better or you are going to get worse, but you are never going to stay the same.”
We have found that some of our students confirm their future plans through the internship experience while others find their chosen internship career possibility is not for them. We consider it a win-win either way.
A friend of mine was recently asked to give a TED talk. When I asked her what they told her concerning how to prepare she shared this directive: Be interested, be generous, be interesting, connect. That’s when I realized that our Community-Based Learning program made the same demand of our students.
We began our Internship opportunity for students 7 years ago. We started with 14 students and since that time hundreds of students have participated in the program.
The Internship experience did a great job attracting our college-prep students. The students who elected this course were gaining many important transferable skills and developing career maturity* at a faster rate than our very capable Honors/AP students and our Academic students. The question then became: How do we attract all students to Community-Based learning experiences?
In an effort to involve more students in Community-Based learning we expanded our offerings. Our honors and AP students can intern over the summer in a program we call Bridges. Academic students elect a new work-study program, Working Initiatives. Our Life Skills students are also involved in work-based training opportunities. Additional supporting experiences such as Lunch & Learn and our Futures Fair are well received by our student body.
I would be remiss if I did not tell you how important our community partners are to our program. Hatboro and Horsham are vital communities.
Our champions include the Greater Horsham Chamber of Commerce, the Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation, Impact Thrift Stores, Horsham Township to name a few. Local post-secondary programs and the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board also offer resources and support.
Each Community-Based learning opportunity I’ve mentioned and most you have seen during this presentation offer students two mentors-a community member committed to mentoring a young person and a teacher who has dedicated their professional life to mentoring students with the goals of developing a life-long love of learning and future success.
The outcome? Students who elect Community-Based learning experiences do better in all academic classes during the CBL experience. They seek post secondary options, stay in post secondary programs and graduate from post secondary programs at a higher rate than their peers as well as graduate from these programs in a more timely manner.
Seth Godin once said that “Caring is a competitive advantage…” Community-Based learning opportunities are the result of caring. At Hatboro-Horsham we care because “Today you are going to get better or you are going to get worse, but you are never going to stay the same.” Is there really a choice? Caring is our competitive advantage.
Thank you Dr. Leary.
Thank you Mr. Paterno-Hail to the Lion
*Career maturity is demonstrated by teenagers of high school age when they:
Understand the importance of narrowing career interests as a basis for postsecondary planning;
Have, by the 10th grade, identified one or more career interests after an objective evaluation of their likes and dislikes, their aptitudes, and labor market projections;
Have, by the end of the twelfth grade, engaged in activities to verify these choices; and
Used these choices to make post-high school decisions.
Ken Gray-Getting Real: Helping Teens Find their Future
My friend, Joyce Valenza, is a teacher-librarian. She always introduces herself as a teacher-librarian and what a great teacher she is. In addition to her students, she has taught me much over the dozen plus years we have been friends. I would not be the educator I am today without her influence.
Joyce was recently asked to speak at a TEDxPhiladelphiaED event. It is here that Joyce introduces “the Sally’s” in her talk titled SeeSallyResearch. You know the Sally’s if you’ve been in education for awhile. You may have been or known Sally Madonna or Sally Spears. Sally Gaga is in your classroom today.
As I listened to Joyce’s talk I couldn’t help think about 21st Century skills and how artfully she equips her students as they learn and practice these important skills. Joyce’s students “own” their learning. They become passionate learners. Their learning empowers them.
I unplugged. Really. I didn’t go online except to check my email once a week all summer long. It has been so refreshing. So what did I do with my time?
I trained for a half marathon, expanded my gardens, enjoyed time with friends and family and I read. I read for pleasure and I read for professional growth. For the first time in my career, I did not write curriculum over the summer. The reason? I read Mike Schmoker’s book Focus. Mike has some clear thoughts on this topic and that thinking influenced how I spent my time.
A summary: Instead of piling on one new reform fad after another, here is a book that boils down solutions for improved schools to the most powerful, simple actions and structures that ensure you prepare allstudents for college, careers, andcitizenship. Best-selling ASCD author Mike Schmoker explains why and how to take a “first-things-first” approach to school improvement and focus laser-like on only three essentials:
Coherent curriculum (what we teach).
Sound lessons (how we teach).
Purposeful reading and writing (authentic literacy).
In making his case, Schmoker delves deep into the significance of the three essentials so you get a complete understanding of what they mean to your daily practice.
This book has been a game changer for me. Upon my return to school, I learned our new Director of Curriculum will be basing our back-to-school inservice on this book. I can’t wait to participate in this discussion!
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings sing a song with lyrics that appear in the title of this post. I think it’s on the 100 Days 100 Nights CD. Today, educators have to live with less resource of every kind. The money is gone. In 2011 we have to be development experts–we must become “teacherpreneurs.”
Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet with Kendall Glouner, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development at the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit. Kendall shared the following presentation about identifying and writing for grants.
Moral of the story: Identify what you need and why, define the expected outcome and how the outcome will be measured, explain who will benefit and how–then look for funding. You may be suprised how many potential resources you will find!
Developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for use by all school districts in Pennsylvania. A committee of school counselors met and developed these tools as a companion guide for practical implementation of a comprehensive K-12 school counseling / guidance plan. This document provides school district counselors with a step-by-step process, a framework, resources and best practice models for developing their district plan. In Pennsylvania, school counselors are integral in the academic, career and personal/social development of all PreK-12 students.