Wednesday, November 4, 2015

EdCamp WNC

Engaged... Participant Directed... Personal... Passion

Last month I had the opportunity to attend my very first Edcamp style Professional Development.  Prior to this, I had read about the Edcamp experience, but could never quite wrap my mind around the organization of it all.  The idea of a group of people, educators at that, coming together with very little knowledge before hand, no schedule with sessions to choose from that could be stewed on for days prior to the event?  How could this be? How would anything constructive come from this?  How can you put 100+ teachers in a room with no prior planning?  And that is just what happened.  A group of 100+ educators came together and participated in meaningful discussions, and took away ideas that are currently being used in classrooms across the state.  So, I left with this question, How?  How did this group come together and accomplish what we accomplished?

My answer can be summed up in four phrases.

From the moment I arrived at Edcamp I was engaged in conversations with other educators, wether it was seeing a familiar face from 10 years ago and catching up or meeting someone new and finding out where they were from and what they teach.  To be engaged in conversations with passionate educators is one of the most reviving things.  Maybe it was the duct tape, tin foil, and paper activity where we divided into groups and invented something that had not been invented yet that hooked me.  Or, perhaps it was the buzz that filled the room when we put our session ideas into Dotstorming and voted on the topics that we would like to hear more about.  The day was engaging, and when engaged we learn, we share ideas, and we support one another.

Participant Directed
When I think of Professional Development I think of day long events where I have to sit and listen to someone present about something that I may or may not be interested in with very little opportunities for feedback from the audience.  But, not at Edcamp.  This Professional Development was directed by the participants.  We chose what would be discussed and the ideas that would be shared.  In each of my sessions I had the opportunity to hear first hand experiences of things that were working well in classrooms, and I had the opportunity to share my own personal experiences.  Each participant assumes a leadership role at Edcamp.  How amazing would it be if we ran our classrooms this way?

My learning at Edcamp was personalized.  I was able to vote on what I wanted to discuss, and I was able to choose what sessions I wanted to attend.  I was able to visit the Makerspace that was set up and create something of my choosing.  Our professional lives are impacted by our personal learning experiences.

The participants at EdcampWNC have a passion for education in North Carolina.  From those in leadership roles who helped to organize the event, to the veteran teachers who were in need of a recharge, or the beginning teachers who were needing assurance that they chose the right profession, there was PASSION.  It was very apparent from the conversations in the rooms, the ideas that were being shared, and the progress that is being made in classrooms across the state that a passion for teaching and learning is at the heart of educators.  When a teacher teaches with passion their students can't help but notice!

What I have taken away from my first Edcamp experience I hope to bring back to the community of Educators and students that I serve in Burke County.  I am looking forward to participating in many more Edcamps in the future!  Thank you #EdcampWNC!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Connected Learners

4th grade students in Burke County, NC used Skype to connect with 4th grade students from Iredell County, NC to discuss questions about their county's history.  Students posted notes on a Padlet to organize their information.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Rhyming Word Collages

Students in Mrs. Howell's and Mrs. Proffitt's Kindergarten classes at Rutherford College used their 1:1 devices to review and create digital posters of rhyming words using the Pic Collage App.  It is amazing how quickly students catch on and begin navigating themselves.  Check out these examples of student created work!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Researcher, Writer, Editor & Publisher

Students in 5th grade at Forest Hill are beginning to finish their Ecosystem Research Project despite the setbacks from bad weather and snow delays!  Students worked with a partner to take on the role of researcher, writer, editor and publisher of their very own audio book using Quicktime and iMovie.  Students acquired skills across multiple subject areas in order to reach their goal of recording and publishing their book.

Scan these codes to see more videos!

Catch me if you can. . .

Students in Mrs. Stamey's and Mrs. Robertson's 3rd grade classes at Icard Elementary went on a Geocaching hunt to "catch" a Leprechaun or find his treasures today, allowing them the opportunity to engage in discussions of GPS, satellites, compasses and teamwork.  Using a Garmin GPS system students tracked down six different locations, four of which had treats or treasures, and two that were left empty by a sneaky Leprechaun.  These 3rd grade students worked together to locate and record their data, learning that the locations they logged were just as important as using the GPS and reading the compass.

Location Acquired!  Treasure Found!

This team is super excited about their GPS learning experience.

Friday, March 13, 2015

K-2 Ready to Go!

K-2 carts for Rutherford College Elementary School's 1:1 initiative are ready to go.  iPads are loaded and ready for student use.  Teachers are beyond excited about the possibilities for learning and engaging their students for the remainder of the 2014-2015 school year and years to come!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Jog ... Fog ... Hat ... Rat --- Let's Rhyme!

Students in Mrs. Gant's Kindergarten class participate in a series of Rhyming Word activities.  Including reading a book, participating in a Nearpod, and playing a rhyming word game!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ecosystem Audio Book? I can't wait to see the final product!

Students in 5th grade at Forest Hill Elementary School partnered up to begin creating an Ecosystem audio book using images and research they found from the web. Students are not only learning about science, but also about copywrite and publishing as well. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What's in the Box ???

Teachers and students at Rutherford College Elementary were curious about the contents of the boxes that appeared in the media center yesterday.   When unveiled, we found that we were one step closer to achieving our 1:1 initiative goal.  The iPad and Macbook Carts have arrived and are on location!  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Flipping for Flipboard?

Visit Flipboard

Flipboard offers multiple online magazine sources for news, sports, tech & science, business, and many more. This one stop magazine shop used to only be available as an app, but has now been added to the web for browsing. You can customize your topics to fit your interests. Great way to keep up with what's trending for your personal use or to use as a current events for your students!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Nearpod - Awesome Interactive Presentation Tool

Nearpod is a great way to bring your classroom to life using mobile devices or web browsers!  You can browse hundreds of Nearpod presentations and customize them, or you can create your own.  Sign-up is easy and it is FREE!  Click the image to find out more.

Friday, January 2, 2015



 Physic 4 Kids

Physics4Kids is a website that allows the complexity of Physics to be understood by the youngest scientists.  Topics include Motion, Newton's Laws, Heat, Electricity, and Light.  Clear text and videos accompany each topic.  This site could be easily integrated into a Web-Quest for students to explore and discover the Physics side of Science.