It has been so exciting to see how edcampciva is growing! I am so grateful to Lynne for taking on this venture with me. We made some changes this year to help facilitate the sessions. We added beginner sessions to flesh out what CI is and to give beginners some ideas. While edcamp sessions are typically not pre planned, we felt that there are many teachers who don’t know much about CI. We wanted to give them time and ideas to allow them to be successful when they go back to the classroom in the fall. (If you missed it, I shared how I started with CI and some ideas for reading.)
We also had people traveling from the Eastern Shore, Maryland and South Carolina! We wanted to give them more of a full day. We added on edcamp after hours which was just time for people to compare notes about what they learned and share even more ideas in a smaller setting. This worked really well until we had a hiccup with ordering lunch. I was surprised at how many people wanted to stick around and hang out! I would encourage other planners to think about something like this as well. In order to facilitate this next year, we are going to switch from having a breakfast to lunch. We believe that this will allow people to stay as long as they like.
If you are interested in setting up an edcamp, you can check out my posts on how to set it up and what is needed for the day of the event. Plus, you can reach out to me, and I would be more than happy to discuss/explain anything to you! Lynne has posted it before, but it is a relatively easy way to set up a pretty robust conference and easy to get going. (In fact, the week before, I was in South Carolina!)
I really love the edcamp model because to me, it sends the most important message that everyone has something to share and add to a conversation. It doesn’t matter how much or little CI you have used, you have a LOT to contribute. Each teacher has a voice, and it doesn’t matter if you have a blog, have 10,000 followers on Twitter or if you don’t use social media at ALL. You have something valuable to add to every conversation. Plus, each teacher has problems. I was explaining how sometimes I have trouble with consistency and accountability (or not to have accountability for FVR.) Lynne shared how she had to commit to FVR every day in order to use it. (I plan on doing something similar next year.) Another teacher mentioned how she had used a rating system after students read a book. I have decided for next year to do that.
Here are some more of my takeaways from our unconference:
- On my reading guide example, I am going to add a third column to have students quote the Spanish where they found the answer. This is something that I always like doing, but I always forget to do. (Not anymore!)
- Also, I am going to add this book to my Amazon cart to read soon!
- Erin from Richmond discussed with us how she tells stories while drawing with a pre-determined script. I have tried this successfully this past year, and I appreciated being able to reflect on it with her. One thing that Erin explained was that she is a soft-spoken teacher. This technique helps her to continue to give CI without having the craziness that class suggested stories can do. I appreciate that this method has allowed her (and others) to find a way to give amazing CI without having to be crazy, energetic and tell stories all the time. (A popular CI myth)
- We also discussed how it can be difficult to have students to attend to what you are saying when you are telling stories for an extended period of time (even 10 minutes). While brain breaks help, some students still struggle. One way to check for comprehension is to ask students to respond in L2 or L1 what you just said.
- Erin and other teachers also noted that they too will offer the idea of having students draw or take “notes” if that helps them pay attention. While it does not necessarily help with acquisition, if students struggle to pay attention, they will not acquire much. Erin also said that she will use the drawings to discuss after. This reminds me a little of Martina Bex’s collaborative mural (which I love).
- I also liked the idea to really simplify the story down to 5-10 minutes then make the longer story an embedded reading.
- As a post listening activity, one teacher said that she will have students write down everything that they can remember in English. Then you can have students compare notes. This will help students in case they didn’t understand one point or missed any ideas.
Thank you again to everyone who came out! We are already planning for next year, and I will share out the date and information when we get closer!