Phew!

Posted: January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

So, I’ve been thinking about EduCon, which was last weekend at Science Leadership Academy (SLA) in Philadelphia. This is the third year that I have attended.

This year I not only attended, I presented. I didn’t do this alone; I’m much too much of a chicken for that. Hadley Ferguson (@Hadleyjf), Philip Cummings (@Philip_Cummings), and I were a team. I have to say that when this whole idea began sometime in the fall on twitter, it seemed like a great idea. I think it went something like this: I saw some part of a conversation Hadley and Philip were having about EduCon. I replied to the both saying I would go to a session on the topic they were discussing. Next thing I know, Hadley has started a google doc, and we are collaborating on a proposal. The details are really a blur.

Well, it turned out we were accepted. (see our listing here) So, that lead to more collaborating, using google docs and skype to work out a real plan for the session. We all teach 5th-8th grade students, so we over plan, because upper elementary and middle school students don’t really do well with slacker plans. Even if you don’t use the plans you made, it’s best to have one or two to spare.

Well, I am happy to report that we had a very respectable number of people at our session, which meant for a reasonably full room. And, none of them left midway through. (Participants are encouraged to change sessions if they are not pleased.) There were even people following the livestream feed. There was lively discussion, people moved around, shared ideas, and left without throwing things. Victory!

Becoming Risk-taking Educators w/ @wendye40 & @hadleyjf 29/366/2012 #366project #educon

Philip's picture of us after our session.

This was the first time I had presented for people other than my colleagues or in-house events (Board of Trustees, alumni, prospective parents, etc). It was great to have a co-presenters. I can honestly say that I really enjoyed working with Hadley and Philip in both the planning and presenting. I think we did a good job combining solid discussions of risk-taking with practical “visible thinking strategies” (based on the book Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church, and  Karin Morrison) that people could take back to their classrooms and use with all sorts of discussions. I know I got a lot of ideas from the people in the group and enjoyed talking with those participating.

We were all a little tired once it was over. Luckily, I had some chocolate with me, because I usually travel with snacks as I think it is the responsible thing to do. Anyway, I will write more about what I learned in other sessions and the ideas that got planted in my brain. But, I think I also learned a lot being in the role of presenter. I really did all those things I want my students to do. I truly collaborated with people who are not within my school building, learned a ton in the process, and shared my  new learning with a wider community.

 

 

 

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Comments
  1. Philip Cummings says:

    While the details are indeed a blur, I think the session turned out beautifully. Honestly, I had my doubts about our ability to offer a meaningful session prior to arriving in Philly because even though our virtual collaboration have been productive it had never seemed cohesive. However, once we sat down in the same room, the ideas just seemed to mesh together perfectly. I’m so glad we were able to work together. I feel I made some close friends while learning and sharing together. I also learned much from those who joined our session and feel honored that they chose to spend precious Educon time learning and connecting with us. Thanks, Wendy!

    • mseiteljorg says:

      Thanks, Philip. I agree that it was easier once we were actually in the same room. But, I thought we had a pretty reasonable plan even before that. As you know, I was most concerned that there would be more of us than people in attendance! Hard to have small group discussions when you whole group is 2 people. I agree with you when you say you felt honored that people chose to spend their Educon time with us. It made me feel very responsible for having something worth the time.

      I am certainly used the 4 quadrant chart that Lyn showed in that next session (keep, lose, need, has potential) today in peer evaluations of essays. It’s another great visible thinking plan.

      It was great working with you. I’m already thinking about what elementary/middle school themed session might be good for next year. Are you in?

  2. olivemom says:

    SO glad to hear it went so well!

  3. Maggie says:

    Congratulations on the successful presentation. I have not read Making Thinking Visible — I take it you recommend it? I see it gets rave reviews over at Amazon.
    Just like we see with our students, when we have to “teach” what we know, we see the material and topic in a whole new way….it sounds like you did, and your session’s participants are the better for it.

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