Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kettle Run Edcamp

For teachers in our county, October 8 was an in-service day with each school responsible for creating their own professional development. 

After returning from EdcampLeadership, I approached my principal about using the Edcamp approach for our inservice day. Instead of paying for a guest presenter, who teachers may or may not have found worthwhile, we decided to host our own unconference.

Knowing the knowledge and expertise to move our school forward can be found within our own walls, our Edcamp was made by the teachers for the teachers. After all, who better understands what’s going on in our school and what we need, than our teachers?

Preparing for the Edcamp Kettle Run
1.     Because this was something new and because we had to turn in our plans to Central Office, many of the sessions were pre-created. Along with our school librarian, we created a google form and asked teachers to sign-up to lead sessions. Because it was a totally new experience, we needed to actively approach teachers—some mild arm-twisting—to lead various sessions. In the end, we had more than enough sessions (to see our schedule click here).
2.     In creating the sessions, we focused on our new teacher evaluation system, AngelLearning (our course management program), lesson planning, and 21st century skills. Two of the more interesting sessions were a parent-teacher roundtable and a student-teacher roundtable.
3.     Our schedule:
8:00-8:15       Meet in the auditorium
8:30-9:30       Session 1
9:40-10:40    Session 2
10:50-11:20  Session 3
11:20-12:20  Lunch: Salsaritas
12:20-12:50  Session 4
1:00-1:30       Session 5
1:35-2:00       Meet in departments
2:05-2:30       Wrap-up

For sessions 4 and 5 we purposefully left several “spots” open. These were reserved for teachers to continue a morning session in more detail, repeat a prior session that teachers were unable to attend, or for a new session to be added. The spots were quickly gobbled up as teachers wanted to continue their AP Roundtable conversation, a repeat of foldables was offered and a new session was created by one of our math teachers.
4.     In creating the schedule, we did two things untraditionally. First, we kept the schedule secret until the day of the event. Secondly, we left teacher’s names off of the schedule because we didn’t want teachers to choose a session based on the facilitator/leader. We did, however, tell the facilitators where/when their session would be held. This decision had both positive and negative consequences, which I’ll discuss in my follow-up posting.

 I'll post a follow-up to the great day of learning in a day or two.

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