Sunday, July 27, 2014

Podstock - A Game Changing Conference

Almost 2 weeks ago, I was enable to embark on a journey, or shall I say experience that has changed my view of education completely!  My school district allowed me the opportunity to attend a National Conference held in Witchita, KS called Podstock.  Podstock was a great way for me to not only hear and learn from brilliant educators, but also allowed me to connect with real teachers, experimenting and trying new things!

I have taken the last few weeks to really reflect ( heal a sprained elbow..) and evaluate my experiences at Podstock14. I have walked away with several ideas, strategies, and thoughts that I hope to incorporate into my classroom as I begin year 9.

#1 The Flipped Classroom and PBL

     The keynote speaker at Podstock was Todd Nesloney (@TechninjaTodd)  who I was also fortunate enough to listen to in a break out session regarding flipped classrooms.  He spoke a lot about NO EXCUSES.  When adopting this way of teaching, we must except no excuses from students.  For me, strangely enough, this was very eye opening.  I have always been that teacher that is "understanding" or "accepts it late".  With a flipped classroom, this cannot be the case.  All students no matter the situation, economic status or family dynamic are responsible for watching the video before class.  If this does not happen, there is No Excuse.. and the student will need to be held accountable.  While this concept feels a bit scary for me... (what will the parents say, do?.)  I am eager to begin my classroom with these high expectations for learning.

    Todd also said, "When you let kids follow your passion, they fall in love with learning."  This quote is something that also stuck out to me.  Todd spoke about a Math Fair that he had his fifth graders complete.  The object:  take something you love and tie it to math, you need three visuals.  At home the students worked on these projects.  The result, a math fair in which students presented what they learned to both parents and peers.  Just listening to his story and hearing his passion I felt connected to these kids and their learning.  It is experiences just like Todd's Math Fair that will keep kids wanting and needing to learn.  Another great PBL that Todd shared with us was taking his classroom and turning into a hospital. Students came into a transformed classroom and learned the ins and outs of fractions, while also becoming 'certified doctors'.

      Listening to Todd and his experiences helped me see the benefits of PBL and the impact that it can have on students.  Todd also helped me understand the management and logistics of beginning my journey into the flipped classroom and PBL.  My main goal as I begin my new year is to tackle this head on.  I only expect to become frustrated, confused, upset, excited and energized as I begin and continue on this journey throughout the year, but am so excited to see my students light up and get excited about learning.

Goal #1: Embark on the journey of the #flippedclassroom and #PBL

#2 Connections

     I was so fortunate to have met and connected with Educational Guru Ginger Lewman (@GingerLewman).  In the brief amount of time I was able to spend with Ginger, I learned that she has a gift of  pushing educators to thinking outside of the box. (I also learned how to take a dueling selfie..picture should be inlcuded).

     In PodStock14 Pre-conference, Ginger held a break out session in which teachers were pushed to think outside of the box, outside of the norm, and discuss with peers.  What would school be like without bells?  What if we didn't have snow days?  Questions that make you ponder think and then ultimately change.  I loved everything about this session,  it not only allowed me to stretch my thinking, but I was able to talk and connect with new teachers, which in turn allowed me to walk away with new ideas.

     When I began teaching 9 years ago I knew the importance of collaboration and connections with colleagues.  I was always told the more heads the better.  It was not until Podstock that I realized that my connections and my collaboration does not have to be limited to my building or school district.  Thanks to twitter, teachers across the world are at my finger tips to learn from, talk to, and collaborate with.  Prior to podstock, I was an ameature tweeter.  I would randomly get on twitter, scroll through a few posts and move on.
    I am hoping as I begin connecting with more teachers I will expand my professional knowledge to help my students achieve success.

Goal #2:  Connect, expand and grow with my networking.

#3 FUN
     My final goal and reflection of Podstock is to remember to have fun while teaching.  "Teachers need to show students that adults can have fun so they want to grow up."  If I am not enjoying and loving my profession then how can I expect my students to enjoy and love the learning?

Goal #3:  Have FUN!

     Podstock was SO.MUCH.FUN. Connecting with teachers, late night converstations, selfies, and superheros will be in my memories of #Podstock14.  I can only hope to attend next year and continue on my new education journey.

Podstock isn't just a conference... its a GAME CHANGER.

    Thank you to everyone who allowed this newbie to feel apart of the family.  I look forward to the reunion next year... Podstock15 

No comments:

Post a Comment