The City of Brotherly Love
They say that Philly is the city of brotherly love. I have to say that during these last few days it was much more than that. I am not always the best at being well spoken so I will do my best to tell about the love I saw and felt in Philly. As I ride home on the train I am trying to restrain from crying because I have never seen so many amazing people do so many amazing things.
The week started off for me on Tuesday morning where the day was kicked off by a quick shower, a short nap, and a trip to Rosa's Fresh Pizza with our main man Mason pictured below.
If you haven't been to or heard of Rosa's Fresh Pizza I will let you in on a little secret...they are amazing! Mason has done a great thing by starting a pay it forward program to help those in need and by offering his slices for only $1. Some friends and I decided a few months back that we wanted the conference experience to be different and Mason helped us achieve our goal. We wanted to give back to a community that is used to conference goers devouring their beautiful city. We decided to visit Rosa's Fresh Pizza (mostly because I was hungry) and used the hastag #sliceofISTE to share with others our love of Mason, pizza, and giving back. We decided that going and donating at Rosa's was going to be a great way to give back to the community. The best part was that there were so many teachers showing up and as of today, we ended up giving back 1,650 meals! My great friend Scott wrote any amazing blog giving some more details about the logistics of the event. It was an amazing experience and I went back each day. You can also purchase t-shirts, sweatshirts, and more from their website if you are interested in helping out Mason and the rest of Philly.
Another phenomenal part of the conference that showcases some brotherly love was the Edcamp Session as well as Meet up put on by the Edcamp Foundation. After wrapping up an awesome Edcamp Session in Edcamp style of course, we walked over to the String Theory School on Vine Street in Philly which is a beautiful school to be in. We had a ton of people that had either attended an Edcamp or was an organizer. It was so amazing to see so many educators from all over the WORLD join us for some cheese steaks and pizza. It was also amazing to be in the city where Edcamps had first started. It was so great to connect with other Edcamp Organizers who were able to talk me through my hopes and worries of our next Edcamp Vegas. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to hang out with for the rest of the night!
My time at ISTE was better than I could have ever imagined. I am so glad that I got to see friends from far and wide. It was a unique experience that I can't wait to go to again. Thank you to everyone for the great conversations, ridiculously fun nights, delicious food, and for just being awesome. Thank you Philly.
Until next time,
CUE Rock Star La Jolla
I am pleased to announce that I am the Social Media Director for CUE Rock Star La Jolla this year. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing what amazing things are planned for this amazing camp.
CUE Rock Star Camps are not your typical summer camps, they are way more thrilling and you don't have to sleep in a tent.....unless that is your thing of course. Rock Star Camps are 3-day long hands on extravaganzas that fall between an unconference and a traditional conference.
A Rock Star Camp is totally tailored to those who want more hands on time out of a professional development. Another awesome reason to attend Rock Star La Jolla (or any Rock Star Camp) is that the classes are kept small, usually selling out around 60-70 attendees. The ratio is usually 1:10 giving you time to dig into the session at hand and get the help from an expert teacher.
Rock Star La Jolla will be an all day event with an extra long lunch so that you can networks, collaborate, throw ideas around, and of course eat. The schedule for Rock Star La Jolla this year will be:
Daily Schedule: June 23rd- June 25th
9:00 Coffee (AKA Wake Up Drink)
9:30 Shred Sessions (Figure out where you want to go today)
10:00 Session 1 (Learning: Round 1)
12:00 Lunch/Networking (2 hours of fun and food)
2:00 Session 2 (Learning Round 2)
4:00 Closing (Yes the day really is over, we are sad too)
Tons of time for hanging out and a crazy amount of learning going on too. I guarantee that Rock Star La Jolla will be totally different from any other professional development you have been too. We will be at the beautiful Muirlands Middle School, 1056 Nautilus Street, La Jolla, CA 92037 on June 23rd- June 25th. I know you are also wondering about the beach since we are talking about La Jolla and we have you covered. We are less than 10 minutes away from this wonderful sandy paradise.
I know you are excited to check out this amazing spin on professional development (as you should be) so go ahead and wonder over to the main CUE Rock Star La Jolla page to check out some more details. In the following weeks I will be sure to share anything amazing that is going down. This is one professional development that you don't want to miss!
See ya there,
"I feel so stuck. Nobody seems to get my ideas or feel my passion for teaching."
If you are like me I am sure you have said this at least five times a day. What is a lone nut to do? I was surrounded by others who were great teachers, but didn't want to change. I was stuck. That was until I found the magic of a PLN (Professional Learning Network) and since then I haven't had to utter those words anymore. I finally feel accepted, understood, and supported by amazing educators.
How can you do it you ask? Easy. Here are the ways that I built my PLN, just take the first step and you will never want to go back!
1. Twitter: Sure, some merely think of Twitter as a website used for those who want to stalk their favorite celebrities' every selfie and food habits, but the site has take a new turn for educators. Using Twitter in an educational setting for the past year has been my best asset. Whenever I have a question, need help with a lesson plan, or need to find the coolest thing to do in my class, Twitter is where I turn.
Once you are on the site, go find some of the educators you look up to (and tweet to them), find companies you use in your school (tweet to them as well), and join an "edchat". There are "edchats" for just about everything in education ranging from state-specific discussions (Like #NVedchat for Nevada educators) to edtech (#edtechchat) and grade-specific. There is bound to be a chat that you can join and learn from.
The golden rule with Twitter is you don't have to follow everyone, only follow those who will help you become a better educator.
Sign up right this second (Seriously, stop reading and go sign up).Don't know where to start? Tweet to me @MsGeekyTeach and I will help you out.
2. Meetups: Meetups are a great way to connect in real life with friends from Twitter, emails, and more. Meetups can be anything from a small meetup like BrewCUE, CoffeeCUE, or EdCamp, to a large conference like ISTE, NCTM or the annual CUE Conference.
Some are free, while some you have to pay for, but I'll tell you this--it’s well worth your money and time if you get to connect with other educators, especially those you otherwise would have never come across.
3. Voxer: Voxer is, simply-put a walkie-talkie application. Why not just text or call, you ask? Well, Voxer allows you to ensure that your question or comment gets the love it deserves. With the Voxer app, you can send text messages, photos, and instant voice messages to individuals and groups.
My PLN, I use this with many other educators to throw an idea around or to get feedback on a failing lesson plan. Since my message is there for them to listen to when they get the chance, I don't have to worry about my message being forgotten about. This also ensures that I will get a thoughtful response once my PLN members get the time to respond.
4. Point: How about sustaining your PLN by sharing articles? Point is a newly discovered favorite Chrome extension of mine. You can share articles with friends, highlight parts of the article that you find interesting, and with the extension you can easily retrieve your favorite reads.
This has changed the way that I read articles, but it's even better for my PLN: I can now share the coolest new edtech findings with all of my edtech friends with one, simple extension. It's like sitting next to another person and chatting about the latest newspaper article!
These are just some of the ways that I stay connected to my PLN. I challenge you to check out new ways to connect, and if you find one, let me know in the comments section below!
NOTE: This article is part of EdSurge's Fifty States Initiative (representing the state of Nevada). Interested in representing edtech in your state? Apply here.
It's over. How is it over already? In a flash it is gone.
"You should really plan an Edcamp for Las Vegas" or something along those lines is what got me started. I was hesitant but promised I would have lots of support. Flash forward to yesterday, August 2nd, 2014 and who knew it would all come together?
I woke up at 5 am after not being able to sleep for the past three nights, butterflies and a slight feeling of nausea decided to join the party. I loaded up the car and was only having a slight freakout as I pulled into SWCTA.
I was surprised to see so many volunteers there at 7 in the morning. We unloaded and started setting up right away. Craig and David started on the session board while everyone else did things from opening up rooms, hanging signs, setting up food and even starting to register people who showed up at 7:30.
The event got rockin' and rollin' really quick, folks were talking, brainstorming ideas, checking out Twitter, and of course jumping on that free coffee and bagels. As the session board was made, I tried to get the 200+ attendees excited for this new experience. Once we went over the basics I let em' loose.
As session 1 and 2 were going on, I was interacting in the sessions, loving the ideas, hearing great discussions from tech in the class to Genius Hour. It was a lot of fun! During session 3, Craig and I decided to do a Things That Suck session and it was awesome! We talked about Las Vegas Buffet (Great idea Craig!), Frozen, School Uniforms, Unfiltered Wifi, and so much more.
Finally it all came to an end once everyone was back in the ballroom. We did a raffle with amazing prizes from our sponsors, announced that Nevada FINALLY has and EdChat (@NevadaEdChat), and my good friend Devin told everyone they needed to take a selfie with me. All in all it was a whirlwind of a day. I got the feeling that you get when your student has an "Ah-ha" moment and your heart swells, tears of joy come to your eyes, and you see your labor of love transform into a reality. This is by far the most stressful, exciting, invigorating, and amazing thing I thought I could never do. Thank you so much to those of you who helped out and those of you who attended. I hope that if you didn't go that next year you will be sure to join us!
Check out the pictures below!
My Lovely PLN
Ahh my PLN, my Professional Learning Network. How near and dear I hold you to my heart. My PLN is my support team and has grown immensely over the past few months.
I have always been interested and up to date with the latest technology (so I thought). I had a Myspace page, Blogger, G-mail, Hotmail, Twitter, Facebook, and so many other accounts I thought I was in the know of things. When I started teaching I was using Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers. I would go to Professional Developments and write down the coolest new thing and think about how to use it in my class. I would read about 40 app in 40 minutes and suck up everything I could. I would also reach out to other teachers and see what they use. I thought I was doing a great job and was awesome.
Then, thanks to my friend Jon (@ipadsammy), I soon learned that I was indeed not as nearly as advanced as I thought I was. I had a regular Twitter account and Jon urged me to get one for educational uses. I quickly obliged and am glad that I did. A few months past and I still felt great at learning more about technology. The big change came when he added me to an amazing group on Voxer. I had used Voxer but never in this way. Since then, life hasn't been the same (so corny but so true).
I have this support system to learn from including @ipadsammy, @tedrosececi, @MsVictoriaOlson, @LS_Karl, @classroom_tech, @MrMacnology, @WhoIsGoldberg, and so many more amazing people. Whenever I have a question, concern, a bad day, or even something I am really excited about they listen (most of the time). Everyday I look forward to hearing their great ideas and conversations about education to Oreos. I feel so lucky to be part of a great learning network. Without know it, they are pushing me to be a better teacher everyday. I am trying things I would have shrugged off last year, I am not afraid to ask questions (no matter how silly), and I feel accepted. Without my PLN I would be in the dark ages still. I know it is past Valentine's Day my dear friends but I hope you accept my late love letter. You guys seriously rock my socks and everyday I am so thankful to have you guys to lean on. Thank you for being my biggest support system. I love you guys.
Who is in your PLN? What is your favorite part of having a PLN online and offline?
Happy Sunday and Belated Valentine's Day.
All my love,
Sara Boucher is a K-5 Technology Teacher who is developing her own set of super geeks and loves what she does.