This was my second time attending SC Midlands Summit in beautiful Columbia, SC. As promised, last year I was just an attendee while this year I was invited to present two sessions. This was a great way to end my week and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. While the sessions were great, that wasn't the high point of my time at the conference. The high point for me was connecting with people. It was great to see my colleagues and spend some quality learning time with them. I am so fortunate to know some great educators. I love supporting them and I truly appreciate the support they give to me. This Blog Is Why professional development and relationships go hand-in-hand. Love my PLN!
After leaving the Partnership Conference at Winthrop University and attending Midlands Summit, I definitely detected a theme in the learning this summer. Computer Science/STEM/STEAM are the hot topics. There were so many connections from the keynote speakers Mike Meechin @mikemeechin and Dr. Cindy Moss @stemboss. I learned about several careers in the computer science/tech industry that I did not know before. This is the information that we must share with our staff and students.
Have you heard of these career options? Mind blown.
Some other conference highlights:
1) Over the course of the conference, I was able to support my colleague and PLN friends. The great thing about technology is that there is so much to learn. I was proud of my colleague for presenting her first session on Guided Math. I was also proud of myself for being able to complete most of the activities that she shared (despite my math phobia!). I also learned some great tech tools thanks to @sblakeney3 and @psjoseph718 that I will be trying out soon. Check them out on Twitter.
Random Name Generator
2) This year, my favorite session was presented by Mrs. Shambi Broome. I have been using Scratch this year with Google's CS First curriculum and Shambi has opened my eyes to a whole new world of options with Scratch and the new Teacher Account. I am excited to get started creating and sharing in the Scratch community. I look forward to sharing more with you soon! In the meantime, check out her website:
3) Seeing so many familiar faces in the audience helped to ease my stress level as I presented. I also truly appreciated the participants' willingness to try new tech tools. My first session was my version of an EdTech Top 10. As I shared with my audience, this list could include so many different resources. Even in preparing my presentation, I changed and switched out items several times. Check it out and drop me a line if you have something new that you think I might enjoy! And my second session was all about blogging. I love talking about blogging and my goal is to inspire others to pursue blogging as a reflection tool.
EdTech Top 10: Tips & Tools to Implement Now
Welcome to the Bloggers' Cafe
**@ = Twitter connections
Giving back. It feels so good. Today as I reflect on Edcamp Palmetto in my town of Rock Hill, there are so many emotions. At first, I was nervous and a little disappointed that we had to compete with so many other great events in the area. But, at the end of the day, it was PERFECT. I was honored to work with so many hard-working and dedicated educators (or future educators). And proud to hear the compliments of organizer Jed Dearybury (@mrdearybury1). This Blog Is Why you have not lived, until you have experienced an Edcamp!
(Photo courtesy: Jed Dearybury)
Behind the Scenes
Usually in my conference wrap-up, I get to share about my experiences attending a conference or edcamp. This time, I have the unique perspective of assisting with planning the event. That is a lot of hard work! Today, as I looked around, I realized that this event was planned and prepared by teachers for teachers. Talk about empowerment.
(Photo courtesy: http://www.facebook.com/edcamppalmetto)
In preparation for the day, there are meetings (love Google Hangouts), phone calls and visits to businesses, making tough decisions, and then putting it all together the day before everyone arrives. I am thankful for those businesses who jumped on board immediately and offered donations to support teachers. Many of them realize how hard teachers work and want to do what they can to show appreciation. Edcamps are free events and designed to be an informal day of professional growth. The hard-working people that make up edcamp teams are all volunteers. As a volunteer, I learned the art of balance. Trying to assist in planning and preparing as much as possible while still working two jobs, spending time with family, and being sick (two whole weeks). But it is so worth it when you see teachers and students walking away with freebies that will hopefully spark a new innovative lesson in their school or classroom.
This event was hosted at my alma mater, Winthrop University, and again I am bursting with pride. The staff was helpful, welcoming, and accommodating. Thanks to the student volunteers who worked so hard, we were able to get a lot done in a short amount of time. As issues presented themselves, they were on top of a solution immediately! A special shout-out to the PSTA student chapter board members at Winthrop. A job well done.
My favorite session of the day was "Pass It On" with veteran teachers, newbies, and students. The conversation was positive and inspiring as teachers new to the profession shared some concerns or questions. They were able to hear from veterans about some coping strategies. The conversation was so good that we were almost late to lunch! I heard one participant say as she was leaving the room: "Ooooh, that gave me chills." The stories about building relationships and passion ruled the session.
During the very first session, I floated among three rooms. Yes, you can do that at an edcamp! They were Flipgrid, BreakoutEDU, and Classroom Management. Flipgrid and Breakout allowed participants to be interactive and think about ways they could integrate some lessons in their own classrooms. I made my way to Classroom Management after peeking in at the Collaborative Notes (also a part of Edcamp). There were so many good ideas, strategies, and resources being posted that I just had to witness the conversation for myself.
(Photo courtesy: http://www.facebook.com/edcamppalmetto)
My goal for the next Edcamp is to visit the Ongoing Sessions: Cardboard Room and Game Room. In two edcamps, I have not had the chance to fit in all the goodness of the day. I also missed the GooseChase fun, but that's okay because I over-indulged at the last one.
I would love to hear about your highlights from the day! Share in the comments or tweet me @MsClassNSession.
Thank a Sponsor
If you attended Edcamp Palmetto: Rock Hill, don't forget to thank the sponsors. This day would not be possible without their support. I will try my best to list them here and hope I don't miss anyone (but I will keep updating, if I do):
Palmetto State Teachers Association (PSTA)
Founders Federal Credit Union
Lily Sarah Grace
Sharp Business Systems
Matt Miller (Author)
Monica Burns (Author)
The Pump House
The Brass Tap
The Children's Cottage
Burgers & Barley
Leola & Simone
Elaine Miller, Primerica
Go Bigger, Go Home
The Paper Gnome
Have you ever experienced an online, global slumber party? That's what it was like to participate in the EdChange Global Classrooms 24-hour PD this summer. Although, I jumped on board at the last minute, I was still able to enjoy the fun from beginning to end (of course with some naps in between). One of my favorite components of the conference was the variety of formats they offered for presenters and audience members. Presenters could decide on a Twitter chat, Voxer chat, Google Hangout video, or Periscope video. What an awesome concept! This Blog Is Why PD in your PJ's has taken over my summer conference tour and I am loving it.
After the opening ceremony, participants created Google slides to introduce themselves to the learning community. I enjoyed using the presentation to see who would be joining in and to build my PLN. Here is a sneak peek at MY slide:
Next, I made my way over to Periscope to hang out with Jacqueline Rose (@JRose_Edu). I was amazed at how poised and focused her presentation/share was as she stood outside of her sister's birthday party! She gave some compelling examples about how to incorporate Snapchat in the classroom or for building your PLN.
Snapchat: Your Next PLN
My favorite session of the event was the Twitter chat with Kathi Kersznowski (@kerszi). As a new Instructional Technology Coach, I am always looking for new connections, tools, and resources. This special edition chat using the hashtag #iichat was just what I needed. I have included my list of must-haves from the chat:
Now even though the chat was my favorite, I had the most FUN with the "Name That Tune Challenge". As a true couch potato, this was right up my alley! I must confess that my connection kept going in and out, so I am surprised that I was able to hang in the competition as well as I did. Ha! There was one moment when I lost connection and came back just in time to guess the TV show theme before others. Felt like sliding into home base! This is definitely an icebreaker to add to my list. Try your luck with it:
Name That Tune
Well, the next morning, I was up early to host my own chat using the hashtag #MsClassNSession. It was not as successful as I would have liked, but I am grateful for those that popped in anyway. Special thanks to @cybraryman1 for stopping by to share his tech tools page.
Chat Questions: "The EdTech Exchange"
If that's not enough, during my live session, I had trouble logging in! I eventually made it and tried my best to make up for lost time. I didn't want that setback to derail my energy and enthusiasm for my session. A huge thanks to all who attended. I am especially thankful to Peggy George. As I mentioned during my online chatting, she is always a great sidekick in those sessions.
Tuning in with Matthew Castilleja gave me the chance to learn about Google Keep and how to use it for keeping my notes, lists, and reminders organized. There were so many surprises about what I can do with this tool. Take a look for yourself:
Google Keep Presentation via MattEduTech
"Leading Digital Literacy" with Katherine Goyette (@kat_goyette) taught me how I want my next online session to go. I liked the way she interacted with and included the audience for feedback, questions, and discussion during the presentation. Even though I had to check out a little early for another online session, I still gained some valuable resources. In her presentation, she addresses skills for the new workforce, digital citizenship, and reluctant teachers.
Leading Digital Literacy
The last session of the conference for me was all about student blogging. This is a topic that I am passionate about and it was an opportunity for me to learn from someone else. Dianne Csoto (@MViTDiTeach) shares student blog examples and other resources for those ready to implement this tool in the classroom.
There was definitely a learning curve for me. The joys of technology. In the end, I would do it all over again. I am already looking forward to next year and being a part of the EdChange Global experience.
Thank you to the conference sponsors:
Participate, Hoonuit, CCS Arizona, Flipgrid, Chromville, Easel.ly, Kami for Schools, Nearpod, nepris, VoiceThread, JogNog, Buncee, Classcraft, TechSmith, NutKase Accessories, EduMatch, Deb Atchison, and William Jackson
This week was my first time visiting the Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2i2). One word can describe that experience: Wow! I love the idea of combining a student-friendly/community-friendly environment with the administrative (district level) office spaces. A great way to build community. I was there attending my very first SC Midlands Summit. Although, I was not a presenter this year, I look forward to the opportunity in the future. This Blog Is Why you should add the SC Midlands Summit to your list of must-attend conferences, I know I am!
My hat's off to the awesome presenters of this conference. They truly made their sessions interactive and I came away with many great ideas that I am ready to implement for the 2017-2018 school year. The kick-off event to the conference was a keynote by Matthew Luhn (@MatthewLuhn). He is a writer known for some of your favorite children's movies (Toy Story, Cars, Finding Nemo---just to name a few). His presentation focused on the power of story. He states that story is 22 times more memorable than facts alone. In order to be meaningful, stories should also have impact and be personal as well. Luhn also shared what makes a good story. These key elements include: The Hook (8 seconds), a promise of change, connection, authenticity, and structure. What is structure? The Basics: beginning, middle, and end. Sounds simple, right? Finally, he shared "The Story Spine" which are sentence stems to help give your story that flow, if you are struggling with putting your thoughts together coherently. The life story that Luhn shared was definitely made for Disney. I hope you get a chance to hear him speak some day and learn his story.
My favorite session of this two-day event was "GoNoodle 102: What's New" with GoNoodle Ambassador, Jessica Lopez (@SeaTurtlesCD4). One of the reasons that I loved this session, was because I THOUGHT I knew GoNoodle, but she introduced me to a whole new world. I wish I had known! I feel like I have been cheating my students. This session was the perfect combination of free swag, movement/dancing, selfies, and tons of valuable information. If you want students who are awesome, engaged, and ready to learn, try these short movement videos. You can find getting-to-know-you activities, exercise (Zumba), mindfulness videos, and academic minilessons. The Plus option expands your access to resources and features. You can get a one-month free trial before making a financial commitment or use the free version. As you try something new in GoNoodle and love it, share with them on social media using the hashtag #betterwithgonoodle. Great videos shared on Twitter if you follow @SCMSummit.
The staff from Jesse S. Bobo Elementary in Spartanburg was another favorite for me. I was inspired by the work of Ms. Alisha Bridges from an Edcamp that I attended. She shared some phenomenal Lego resources with me and I wrote an Impact Grant to get started with using LEGO's WeDo 2.0 kit. Now, I want my own LEGO Learning Lab! I enjoyed hearing from the teachers about how they incorporate the use of LEGOs into the curriculum starting from Pre-K classes. The team offered some helpful tips including management in the classroom, where to get additional resources, how to get started and lessons for elementary students. Again, more freebies and a fun activity creating a storyboard featuring a fairy tale/nursery rhyme. Can you guess mine?
Some other conference highlights:
1) I love hearing from Nick LaFave! He always shares a variety of great tech tips. I will be checking out Screencast-O-Matic and you should join Nick's website (link below).
2) If you are attending the Upstate Technology Conference (#2017utc), stop in to see Shalonda Blakeney (@sblakeney3). She shares great resources for using @Seesaw in the classroom. Her sessions are interactive, so you can practice while you learn. Don't forget to bring your device!
3) If you are planning an EdTech event, "It's as Easy as 1-2-3"! I enjoyed the un-conference set-up for this session. The discussion was engaging and informative. As we are preparing for Edcamp Palmetto, I will use the tips, tricks, and resources shared in this presentation. A special thank you to Irene Bal and Jennifer Thornsberry!
4) I cannot forget about my best laugh of the day with Dr. Lee Green (@itsleegreen). Not only did I learn about Google's Explore Button and Add-ons, but I learned the new terminology "chompey-chompey's" (insert laughing emoji). Dr. Green shared some easy ways to make your research look professional and thorough in a matter of minutes. When I begin work on my doctorate, I am using these time-saving resources. In the meantime, can't wait to explore Autocrat, Flubaroo, Doctopus, and Orange Slice. It's a whole new Google language!
5) Another gem from the conference was the Digital Citizenship session presented by Janelle McLaughlin (@Ms_Mac4). I personally learned the most in this session. There is a lot of talk about digital citizenship and cyber security, but I must be honest that I have not put enough emphasis/focus on them. That changes now. I am more aware of my responsibility than I have ever been and I have the resources to make more informed decisions. My final share from the conference and call to action for you all: Pledge today to be better digital citizens. Our students/children are depending on us.
**@ = Twitter connections
(Courtesy: Creative Commons & @misskyritsis-Eleni Kyritsis)
Another awesome Edcamp experience and job well done to the team at Edcamp Greenville: Kelli Coons, Austin Greene, Hamilton Parks, Sarah Liebenrood, Victoria Salvat, and Fran Rogers. It was definitely worth the drive, worth getting up extra early on a Saturday, and worth missing out on (some, not all) my #satchat ritual. I am looking forward to pitching in to bring an Edcamp to MY area. Hey, my Rock Hill area peeps! This Blog Is Why you need to be a part of the Edcamp Palmetto experience.
**For exclusives and a sneak peek into the conference, go to Twitter: #yeahTHATedcamp **
Photo credit: Kelly Hines @kellyhines
Positive Energy, Engaging Conversations, Free Food, Prizes, Freebies, Meet Ups, Music and Free Food. Yes, I said Free Food twice because it was just that good!! There are so many great things that I could share from the event. When I got out of the car, I could hear the music and laughing. It came outside, tapped me on the shoulder, and said, "Girl, come on in". And you know I am not a morning person!! Just being honest. Check out the planning board below. As ideas for the conference were coming together, the DJ set the tone for the conference by getting us out of our seats to "Cupid Shuffle" and "Wobble" into the day.
Photo credit: Lachelle Brown @LachelleBrown80
There were a variety of sessions to participate in and a few of my favorite topics from the day included: flexible seating, Twitter for Educators, Engaging Activities, Guided Math, and DonorsChoose. I also enjoy meeting my Twitter PLN in person and I hope to see you all at #2017utc. The ideas that you get from other educators can inspire you to try something that you may not have done otherwise.The classroom below has a variety of flexible seating options and we learned the logistics of how this teacher makes it work for her fifth graders.
Photo credit: Hamilton Parks @IC_at_AJ
The conference also sponsored four anchor sessions that ran throughout the day. These were hosted by: LilySarahGraceFund @LSGFund, Discovery Education, Lego Education, and Breakout EDU. This was my first breakout experience and I was not the genius behind our group's success, but we had the fastest time of the day...10 minutes. Can you beat that?
Photo credit: Matt Johnson @EduCaptAmerica
A special thanks to all of the vendors, companies, and restaurants that support teachers and make these learning experiences possible. My prize for the day came from the Peace Center and I cannot wait to share with my students. Shhhhh!!
Lunch provided by: McDonald's, Papa Johns, Firehouse Subs, and Arizona's
Call to Action:
1) After you read the FREE book you received, Every Child A Super Reader, share out on Twitter using the hashtag #BookCampPD.
2) If you are in the Rock Hill, Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville (SC) areas, click the link below to be a part of the planning committee for an Edcamp near you. Deadline: April 30th
Edcamp Palmetto Volunteer
3) If you attended Edcamp Greenville, don't forget to apply for an Impact Grant. Were you inspired by a session or presenter? Here's your chance to bring that experience to your school or students. Deadline: March 31st
Impact Grant Application
A huge shout-out to my other half who gave up a Saturday just for me. <3 <3 <3
Blogger/Educator/Grant Writer/ Future Ready Presenter/Aspiring Administrator