This was the first year that we hosted a fall version of EdCampMetroDC at Lowell School. While I was excited, it had been a particularly long week, and it felt like one more thing on my to do list. However, when I got my coffee and saw Matt Frattali, I knew that it would be amazing as always. The one thing that I have realized after attending so many is that our EdCampMetroDC has become a community. It is always wonderful to see new people come, but I also really appreciate people who have consistently come to the edcamps. I will put it out there that even if you THINK you have something better to do instead of an edcamp or want to sleep a little longer- just go! Also where else can you mention EdSurge and hear a whooping reply?!
Here are some of my favorite takeaways from EdCampMetroDC (or read the notes here!)
I started with a group discussing blended learning. I love EdPuzzle to embed videos and insert questions. I didn’t realize that there was a Chrome Extension to use to save a few steps! I also like to share that EdPuzzle can be used as a project and STUDENTS can annotate a video that they choose. This takes away from EdPuzzle always being teacher centered. Also Amy shared that she would use Hyperdocs after an EdPuzzle. Depending on how students did, the hyperdocs would send them to different articles or articles with different questions. I have really been interested in Hyperdocs in foreign language, and I think this was the push to get me to think even more about them. Also on my docket to check out is weo.
The next session I visited was Genius Hour. One thought that we discussed was what does a solid, good genius hour project look like. For example, many times we see that a student has done a lot for charity, and we always hear the example that Google created Gmail during one of these projects. But what does it look like if I am not going to create Gmail (which I certainly am not going to do… and my students probably won’t either)? It ended up being a big discussion on Twitter about what work we choose to share on social media. I have discussed this before on my blog. As much as I have learned from many Facebook groups, many times, I see “look at what my students have done!” Typically this is students who have improved significantly or have done amazing things. I want to see what the average student in your class has done, too. I can only imagine as a new teacher thinking that my students will NEVER attain this. I think that we can be more cognizant to say this is what the average student did and some did not do this much.
The last session was about teacher self care. I think we are all guilty of swinging into working too much at various points of our career. Lately, I have felt it creeping in for various reasons. I will say that as happy as I am not using a textbook, it is also stressful for me to make sure that I have enough structure for my students. One idea that really made sense for me was to make a nightly routine. I have forced myself to slow down and think about when I can fit my yoga practice in and also include a brain dump as well. We also discussed focusing on the positive in your teaching and not always think about what you want to improve. I hope that this continues to help me improve, and I hope that you can share some of your ideas as well.
Finally, it was time for the smackdown! Sometimes in the smackdown, I hear similar ideas, but this year, there was a lot of excitement from the group and me! One of my favorite websites to use for printing authentic resources is printfriendly.com. Mercury reader also does a similar thing, and it is an extension, so you can easily save yourself a few clicks! Classroom screen looks really neat! You can add a timer to your screen, directions, a sound level monitor, and drawings. I haven’t had a chance to really play around with it, but it looks promising.
Well and that wraps up a LONG summary of my edcamp reflections. I hope that you will soon attend a local edcamp. I cannot recommend them enough. Also, if you haven’t gone to an edcamp in awhile, give it a try!