Whew! Yesterday was a great day! We had 33 teachers come who were excited to learn and share more about edcamp and comprehensible input. Not only that- but we had teachers come from West Virginia and Raleigh, NC all the way to Chesapeake. Overall, we were all looking to connect with teachers who were on the same path that we are. We covered many topics that I have been tossing around, and it was reassuring to see that many teachers were doing the same thing that I did… and no one had all of the answers! Here are some of my favorite takeaways:
- Here are my notes from the first discussion on assessment. One of my favorite takeaways about looking at another teacher’s rubric for writing was that she offers a bonus point for risk taking! I love that! While our department does not allow us to exceed 100 points, I believe that it is important to reward risk taking. I also thought about adding an extra point if I laugh out loud. With each batch of tests and quizzes, there are usually 2-3 that cause me to laugh out loud with their creativity. When I am teaching the basics and students are creative enough to have me laughing, that is impressive!!
- We also discussed percentages for grades and how they break up the grades. Many teachers are evaluating how to minimize homework grades. However, many teachers still are not sure. Although I do believe that a grade should reflect a student’s ability to perform in the language, I am a firm believer that effort is important in real life and our jobs. Classwork and homework represent the effort that we all place into our jobs. I do think that I will minimize it to a MUCH smaller percentage than I have before next year.
- For novel ideas, one teacher mentioned the strategy of SOS. SOS stands for summary, opinion and statement (to support that opinion). This seems a simple activity that my students could do in Spanish I especially if I provided some starters to the statements. It could also be done pre-reading as explained in the link.
- I have seen many posts about smashdoodles, but it made more sense when Lynne explained it. (Although I love blogs- it is something about HEARING someone explain some concepts that just makes it stick.) She has students find five new words to illustrate, then find three important sentences from the chapter as well as offering a few opinions with sentence structures. For example, have students express what surprised them, bothered them etc. It would be a nice combination with the SOS idea as well.
- Also, Lynne shared some insights about the purpose of reading novels that she learned on Teach for June webinars. She said that the purpose is not for the students to necessarily remember the plot but to be able to learn the words. One of the most powerful ways to learn the words is via reading. This was such an important point to reiterate.
- At the end, we had a little time for our share-a-thon. One of the teachers who was there had been a German teacher in Chesapeake for many years. In fact, another teacher’s stepson had him and still spoke German. Another teacher at edcamp remembered him as a teacher from when he was in school! It was so nice to see his impact on all of his students. He was also such an amazing edcamp participant because he was such a quiet leader. He had been using TPRS for many years, but he would participate evenly and let many others share as well. Anyway- I digress! His idea that he shared was called “psycho-drama” that he learned about in the 80s. You can tell students that you have just gotten an email from the nurse that a virus is going around the school with the water bottles at school. He said that you can start asking students with water bottles if their throats hurt or any other symptom. Then you can tell them the symptoms of this “virus.” It is a great recap of symptoms and body parts. You can keep going and make it more and more outrageous until the students catch on to the secret. I loved it! You could try it with so many different things! I would love to learn more about it if anyone has learned about this before.
Again- thank you thank you thank you to SO many people! First of all, thank you to Lynne for coming up with the idea and agreeing to host it with me! I have learned so much from working with her, and it was amazing that we didn’t meet face to face until a week before the edcamp- the power of Facebook and email. Thank you to Deep Creek High School for being so accommodating and hosting us! Thank you to our sponsors including the edcamp foundation, ActivelyLearn, Flipgrid, Nearpod, Teach for June and the Comprehensible Classroom. They helped us to provide the breakfast and coffee in addition to having one of the best raffles that I have seen! Thank you to EVERYONE who made the edcamp what it was. It is not effective unless there is a group of motivated educators ready to share their ideas, listen to other ideas and give up time in their summer! I hope that everyone who attended got a lot out of it. I know that I am a better educator by being able to meet everyone and connect with you. I hope to continue to work on and grow edcampciva. I am also going to put together a few posts on how to host your own edcamp if you are interested!