If you know me, you know how much I love to Edcamp. The idea of spending time with educators, parents, and students who want to to collaborate in order to teach and learn in a relaxed environment free of presentations and vendors is a complete win for me. Before discovering Edcamp, I can remember waiting around for directives to attend professional development and how let down I would often be while attending a blanketed approach to learning. My introduction to Edcamp years ago was a game changer, and I use the tenets of Edcamp as my pulse for teacher support and in my own professional learning.
I organized my first Edcamp back in 2015 and quickly realized the importance and power Edcamps have to bring people of various backgrounds, strengths, and challenges together to learn. You can read more of my reflections about my first Edcamp here. Since then, I have helped to organize and plan more Edcamps than I can even count because I believe in the philosophy of empowering others to learn and grow. However, today, I was able to experience a personal Edcamp first. Along with a team of four other educators from California, Texas, Louisiana, and New York, I organized #EdtechEdcamp, a two hour virtual event. It was such a great time for learning, and I think I'm still on a high. While we're home keeping safe because of COVID-19, there was something special about taking two hours out of the day to connect with educators. Today I feel empowered, hopeful, and connected, something I haven't felt in weeks. If you are interested in planning a virtual Edcamp, I hope my reflections can help you plan for a successful event.
Top 3 Takeaways
I have planned lots of face to face Edcamp events, so that experience was helpful for this event. However, there are a few things that I had to consider during #EdcampEdtech. Here are my top 3 takeaways.
At the end of the day, we were proud of the event. Teachers from around the globe joined for conversations about teaching and learning. I was able to make new connections, learn, and gain new virtual edu friends.
I love teaching and learning! Over the span of my career, I have been gifted with the opportunity to support the growth and development of K-12 students and teachers as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and edtech enthusiast. One thing I have found to be true is the power of technology to help with all the things we do in the classroom. From differentiated instruction to engagement, technology helps to lighten the load and infuse opportunities for collaboration for teachers and students.
This is the week of love, so I thought I would give YOU a valentine, or a few of my favorite tools. I want to give you a few gifts because I LOVE YOU!
Try one or all of them for edtech fun! Where will you begin?
Blogging is something I just haven't ever been able to say I have mastered. However, there's something about the beginning of the year that gives you the push to dust off failed attempts at previous goals in order to give them another go. As a matter of fact, I have not posted a blog post in exactly one year, so here we go. A brand new year serves as a brand new opportunity to start over, right? At least that's what I like to think.
While I don't set resolutions each year, one thing that has helped me over the past few years has simply been to set goals and review them regularly. The power of self reflection is something that I have used to become stronger and grow from day to day. This gives me the opportunity to reflect over my progress and adjust my own needs and desires throughout the year without feeling like a failure because I didn't master an impossible list of dreams I set for myself January 1st. I am also able to capture who I want to be, the whole picture spiritually, personally, and professionally.
I don't have the secret formula to being great, but I have a system that helps me become better daily. My end goal is always progress, not perfection, and personal reflection helps me to celebrate my wins and gives me a safe space to regroup in areas where I have greater opportunity for growth. More importantly, it enables me to give myself grace.
How do you plan for personal growth? Are you looking for a simple way to reflect and grow? I created a simple reflection tool just like the process I use in my journal. Click here to grab this tool to help you crush your own goals this year. Feel free to add other pages or customize it as you see fit.
Special thank you to Jennifer Hogan who's blog post about planning for a successful blog pushed me to get back on the blogging saddle after an entire year. Jennifer's post includes a great planner that I will use this year because my share goal includes using my blog to share my learning with others. You can read more and grab her FREE blogging resource here.
Dr. Will is passionate about helping others live their best lives. Through his podcast, The Dr. Will Show, he interviews individuals passionate about harnessing their gifts, talents, and abilities to build the lives they want to have. During this episode, Dr. Will joins me to discuss the power of working for yourself, or getting your "coins" as an edupreneur.
I am honored to be included in the Fall 2018 issue of Teaching Tolerance Magazine. Their mission is "to help teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy". This organization provides a roadmap for educators who want to help students make a difference, and they have been instrumental in my professional growth and development over the past few years. If you are interested in learning more about your role in social justice and anti-bias teaching and learning, you should check them out.
I love this time of the year! Everyone is heading back to school full of excitement and anticipation. What better way to prepare for the school year than to sit down and have a conversation with students? As a teacher-mom, I am always talking to my kids about school, so I thought it would be nice to record one of our many conversations. In this episode, my 3 kiddos, Paul (14), Kaden (7), and Kaleigh (7) joined me for a chat about the 2018-2019 school year along with their feelings about school.
I love this time of the year! Leading up to the end of the school year, there is time to reflect over the year as well as time to make needed adjustments to ensure we not only give students our all but truly enjoy the ride until the last bell rings .
As we wrap up teaching and learning for the school year, it is our perception about teaching and learning that will carry us through until the end. Your perception truly frames your reality. If you feel as if each day is an amazing teaching and learning opportunity for you and your students, this message will simply fuel you to continue doing what matters most, sharing your ideas with others along the way. This is my goal. However, I have not been out of the classroom long. I realize often times, educators work in environments that are counterproductive and structured in ways in which we must work hard to simply show up and teach with joy daily. Together, let's use the last few weeks to run with students, ensuring our classrooms, schools, and districts continue to flourish with innovative teaching and learning that keeps us just as excited as our students to come to work each day. How? I'm glad you asked.
I have shared only a few ideas to rock teaching and learning for the remainder of the school year. What about you? What will you try? What will you do to enjoy the last few weeks of the school year with your students? Please share your ideas with me and feel free to reach out to me if I can help you in any way possible.
It's that time of the year again! Each and every single spring, students and teachers from around the nation begin to prepare for end of the year assessments. From grade level specific state testing to college entrance exams, teachers are preparing review material to help students prepare for the end of the year.
As much as we all dread test prep, it is often a necessary evil that accompanies public school education. While I could write a blog post much longer than you probably want to read about my views on testing, I wanted to take time to help you prepare students for testing. Test preparation does not have to be boring for teachers or students. Long gone are the days when test preparation simply meant handing students a packet of never-ending worksheets to regurgitate answers through test formatted questions. That is torture for everyone involved. Through the use of Google Forms, you can build formative assessments, prepare differentiated material, and accelerate learning for students who need more.
Over the next few weeks, I am sharing and learning with the seven PK-6 campuses I support, and I just couldn't forget about YOU. Take time to (re)discover how Google can help you take the boredom out of test prep. Please share what you use with your students! I'm looking forward to learning from you.
Ann Kozma is an amazing TOSA, or Teacher on Special Assignment, from Fullerton California. From the moment that we met via Twitter during a #TOSAchat and later Voxer, Ann has been a ray of light, spreading cheer and encouragement to me and others along my personal edtech journey as an instructional coach turned Blended Learning Specialist. During this episode of EDU Lounge, Ann shares her upcoming sessions with Spring CUE 2018 along with her love of helping others.
A few weeks ago, I was able to sit down to chat and learn from Dee Lanier. Dee is an educator with over a decade of experience in education who currently serves as a Program Coordinator with EdTechTeam. Dee Lanier doesn't simply teach outside of the box. He throws it away and gives students the opportunity to design and think in creative ways. From SmashboardEdu, an interactive game-like digital board that challenges students to use various tools to work towards an end goal, to Maker Kitchen, an inexpensive way to create opportunities for students to make and create, Dee is opening learning opportunities for others around the globe. Learn more about Dee's innovative approach to teaching and learning during this episode of EDU Lounge.