What is Ed Camp? AWESOME!

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.

Edcamp Philly 2012-8029

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.
Edcamp Philly 2012-8046

3.  The next activity was a quick opening assembly where the expections of the day were explained.
Edcamp Philly 2012-8089

 Ed Camp “housekeeping”:

  1. What to expect
  2. “Rule of two feet”
  3. The Inquiry Room
  4. “Leave no trace”
  5. Security sign-in (required)
  6. Visit edcampphilly.org
  7. Lunch & after-party details

4. The schedule revealed (let the Twitter chat begin! #edcampphilly):
Edcamp Philly 2012-7995

5. Two morning session time blocks. I’ll post some pictures of what it looked like.
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Students participated in a presentation about physics, gaming and social networking.
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There was time for networking and professional sharing.
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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.
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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 line-up:
Edcamp Philly 2012-8450
The sharing (more sharing of important Ed Camp resources below pictures):
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Edcamp Philly 2012-8531

The incredible Ed Camp Philly organizers:
Edcamp Foundation Planning Meeting

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!

Ed Camp @ TEDxPhiladelphiaED-Kristen Swanson

Thanks, Kevin Jarrett, for sharing your photos!

 

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Have you hugged your Educational Foundation lately?

I have just returned from a school assembly. Not just any assembly–I heard Dr. Arun Gandhi speak to our student body. Dr. Gandhi is the grandson of Mohandas Gandhi. Dr. Gandhi was living in South Africa as a child. After several beatings from various hate groups by the age of 10 his parents decided it was time for him to live in India with his grandfather.

Dr. Gandhi shared a few lovely stories about his grandfather and their relationship as they lived and learned together. The take aways for me were twofold:

  1. Violence can be against nature or humanity and we all commit these violences everyday.
  2. Keeping a journal to help cope with anger doesn’t do anything except keep the anger fresh (by re-reading) unless you also journal about how the problem could be fixed and then commit to fixing the problem. 

The message Dr. Gandhi sent to our students was truly great but what I really want to write about is our Educational Foundation. There would have been no Dr. Gandhi today without the Foundation.

The Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation is a nonprofit organization created to encourage excellence and to enhance and enrich educational opportunities offered to the students of the Hatboro-Horsham School District. The parents, community members and district administrators who make up our foundations board are amazing people. They have a positive, can-do, “think out of the box” mindset. I am so lucky to be able to work with them. Their first question is always, “What do kids need?”

So what needs have been determined for our students and community members this year?

  1. A world view (Dr. Gandhi)
  2. To be kids (Race to Nowhere)
  3. Self expression (Two of a Kind)
  4. Nature (Tom Szaky)
  5. Cultural arts (Philadelphia Gay Men’s Choir)
  6. Inspiration (Flame)

*For last year’s programming scroll to the bottom of this page.

The HHEF also funds many school projects. Our robotics students compete using funding available via the foundation, our teachers, students and community benefit from video conferencing via the foundation.

My own work has been greatly enhanced by the foundation. The Green and Entrepreneurial Futures Fairs could not have been done without the foundations energy and enthusiastic support. The foundation, to my suprise, went out and brought to school Jerry Greenfield  (Ben and Jerrys) to kick off our year dedicated to that 21st century skill, “entrepreneurialism”!

The foundation encourages teachers to apply for Grants in Action. In addition to all described, “I” have been the beneficiary of several Grants in Action. My students opportunities have been greater by the additional opportunity the grant awards make possible.

HHEF, if I haven’t made this clear before–thank you for all you do!

 

 2010-2011 Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation Events
   

Jeff Yalden

 

   

Jerry Greenfield

   

Vince Papale

   

Futures Fair

   

“The Conspirator” Fundraiser

   

Culture Fest!

   

The Lorax

   

Grants in Action

Sally Madonna, Sally Spears & Sally Gaga?

This presentation is a “must see.”

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 See Sally Research. 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.

See Sally Research was inspired by a chapter Joyce wrote with Doug Johnson for Lehmann and McLeod’s What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media.

Joyce’s blog: Neverendingsearch.

Shop Class as Soulcraft

This book by Matthew B. Crawford was given to my daughter as a graduation gift from her professor at Syracuse University. I finally had a chance to read it. Shop Class As Soulcraft should be read by students graduating from high school too.Educators will find it worth discussing. The New York Times Book Review says, “A beautiful little book about human excellence and the way it is understood in contemporary America.”

Educators will also find the quote introducing the first chapter worth pondering:

“In schools, we create artificial learning environments for our children that they know to be contrived and underserving of their full attention and engagement…Without the opportunity to learn through the hands, the world remains abstract, and distant, and the passions for learning will not be engaged.”

-Doug Stowe, Wisdom of the Hands (Blog)

 Doug Stowe’s blog Wisdom of the Hands is an interesting read too.

For my co-workers Russ, Lori, Heather, Sarah, Lauren, Nick, Adam, Diane, Priscilla and Linda and my friends at Eastern and Central-this one’s for you. Your work is so important.

 

Science Leadership Academy

This winter/early spring I watched this video about Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy. I was intrigued. I’m all about inquiry based learning, learning by doing, leadership development, etc. One of my PLC’s at school was studying the idea of a freshman academy so I lobbied for the opportunity to take this PLC to the SLA for a visit. The visit was arranged and hosted by Jon Amsterdam from SLA. This place is amazing. It is my dream of what a school in the 21st Century should be.

One thing I want you to know that was unique about this visit was that after we were orientated to the school we were set free to roam the halls, talk with kids and teachers at will. The remarkable and exciting thing was that every kid we (randomly) spoke to knew exactly what they were studying and attempting to learn and why it mattered. WOW! (No red T shirts at SLA)

The following is a report I prepared for my SD administrators after our visit:

Interesting videos about SLA:

Science Teacher we met yesterday and others discuss working at SLA and students discussing learning at SLA- http://youtu.be/B1p22QWEJNI

Diana Laufenberg http://youtu.be/oxtqXtPEcLc

Site visit report:

On Thursday, Christy Matik, Ed Doran, Mary Ellen Frey, Tracey DeRosier, Vanessa DeLuca, Jen Bryan and I went to the Science Leadership Academy to learn about their academy model as we research for our freshman academy. (We met briefly with Ralph Rapino yesterday and plan to have an extended meeting to discuss our reflections and what they might mean to the HH freshman academy within the next 10 working days.)

We were met by Jon Amsterdam, assistant principal. He described the essential questions they use to frame learning for each grade as the “through-line.” It is the common theme that runs through all learning, all content areas and connects that learning beyond high school. The core values at the academy are:

Inquiry

Research

Collaboration

Presentation

Reflection

SLA essential questions:

9th grade 10th grade `11th grade 12th grade
Identity Systems Change  Creation
Who Am I?How do I interact with my environment?How does the environment affect me? How are systems created and defined?How do systems shape the world?What is the role of individual systems? What causes change?What is the role of the individual in creating and sustaining change?What is the relationship between the self and a changing world? Sorry, didn’t see these and in interest of getting this report out in a timely fashion, I’ll research this at another time.

Note: Each classroom had the grade level EQ posted on a very large poster. Interesting ways this is displayed in classrooms. Ask any of us to explain.

The only rules at the school:

  1. Respect yourself
  2. Respect others
  3. Respect the learning environment

All curriculum is designed in UbD (Understanding by Design; Wiggins and McTighe).

All curriculum is framed around a common language (“so kids don’t get lost between the adults”) 

  1. Common language concerns systems, structure, pathways and process
  2. Example of common language (and common assessment) use: all rubrics are formatted this way (subject teacher will fill in expectation blanks depending on learning goals)
SLA Common Rubric

DESIGN

20

KNOWLEDGE

20

APPLICATION

20

PRESENTATION

20

PROCESS

20

Exceeds Expectations20-19
Meets Expectations18-15
Approaches Expectations14-13
Does not meet Expectations12-0
  1. Students plug into learning through their own passion for a given topic. Example: Why should we learn about the American Civil War? Students research the civil war from their interest inquiry (personal passion*). I might want to know about the role of women during the civil war, another student may want to understand how the geography of Gettysburg may have determined the outcome, etc. Units of inquiry run between 6-7 weeks. All learning is presented.
  2. SLA takes kids from micro to macro when learning by hooking them with their personal interests first. Another example from SS: What is the study of history? Who writes it? Teachers are concerned with students expressing understanding, not the content.
  3. There are no survey courses-all curriculum is a mile deep, not an inch deep and a mile wide. Students are charges with this: “you are a learner in the world-ask questions”
  4. They use few books b/c inquiry based.

We also met Chris Lehman, school principal, during our visit and other teachers. Interesting notes about the adults we met:

  1. Always talked about the students and their learning in answering our questions
  2. Always talked about being learners themselves

Teachers share common time to discuss students, projects across the curriculum (about 3 hours a week).

  1. Teachers lead about 20 kids (same kids) in a four year long advisory system.
  2. Teachers practice and teach students
  3. Distributive leadership
  4. For kids: kids become school leaders. We met a senior being a very capable and effective learning assistant in a freshman science class. We also saw kids who are Apple certified computer techs fixing tech troubles. All SLA kids intern during grades 10 and 11.
  5. For teachers: advisory boards, sports team leadership, curriculum development, student clubs, etc.
  6. Internal discipline
  7. For teachers: this keeps everyone in step via collaboration, process, etc. It allows teachers to understand their students from peers experience with the students and encourages teachers be “school teachers vs. classroom teachers.”
  8. For kids: as learners and collaborators
  9. Lead a week long 9th grade summer camp for transition to SLA

Their freshman core:

  1. Lang Arts: biography and auto biography
  2. SS: early civilizations
  3. Science: 9 & 10 bio/chem (two year study)
  4. Lang: Spanish and Computer programming
  5. Math: didn’t write this down, sorry-probably varies by student experience
  6. Enrichment: tech class, fine arts, performing arts, pe

No HR: Students can find all info online (one on one laptop school)

Many thanks to our host, Jon Amsterdam and all the students and professionals at SLA for a truly great day!

And as for our PLC and freshman academy? We are moving ahead-September 2011, our first Freshman Academy! If anyone has experience and/or suggestions I’d love to hear from you.

*Personal passion and learning is a topic I’ve been learning about this year via my PLN! I’m currently involved in a book study focusing on the book The Passion Driven Classroom by Angela Maiers and Amy Sandvold. More on this topic soon!

I’m still new at this…

Social networking is something I’m learning about as I go. My first post on this blog addressed sharing resources. Today I found two new resources that I have to share.

Retweeted by my (social network and real life) friend, Joyce Valenza, an image created by Kathy Schrock “Google Tools to Support Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy” How cool is this?

The second is a presentation on Social Networking at school by New Milford High School Principal, Eric Sheninger.

Best Practices in Social Media

I’ve been learning a lot about Social Media from my new social network friend, Eric. I’m still learning how teachers use these powerful tools for learning in their classrooms and thinking about how I might harness new strategies for my students. He has me thinking about how school districts and teachers use Social Media to reach their stakeholders (students, staff, parents, business and community, postsecondary). Eric’s sharing has resulted in many “around the water cooler” discussions about social media in classrooms at my school. He has also been a catalyst to discussion between teachers and administrators across buildings in our district.

Joyce, Kathy and Eric: Thank you for sharing!

I am haunted by a red T-shirt…

“What I learned in school today: How to sleep with my eyes open.”

Over the President’s Day weekend I traveled to New England for a little R&R. I was on my way home, southbound on the Northway, when I saw it.

A group of teenage boys returning from a weekend of skiing were walking out of the timber-framed rest stop as I was walking in. They all were wearing crocks and ski pants. They all had longish hair that had been color altered. They had the skier “look.”

What I can’t get out of my mind is a red T-shirt sported by one of the boys. It read (in large white lettering) “What I learned in school today: How to sleep with my eyes open.”

Ever since this chance encounter with the T-shirt boy I have been thinking about his message. When I walk through the halls of my school and see students in classrooms, sitting in rows starring forward I wonder; are they sleeping? Postures vary. Some lean forward with chin in palms. Others lean back hands in hoodie pocket (texting?). Both groups share the same stare…

Are your students sleeping?