Friday, January 29, 2016

#ECET2 Conference Focus: Collect Ideas

One focus of every conference I attend is to collect ideas. So many of the good ideas I use in my classroom every day have come from my attendance at great conferences as well as my online and real time share. As a collector of ideas, it's important to be cognizant of the focal areas you're currently working towards as well as to leave some time for serendipity too--ideas and content you're not specifically focused on, but will serve you and your teaching/learning community well.

Consider supporting Ms. Jackson's Project
Last night at dinner we talked about a lot of ideas and experiences in education as well as our own stories. I was struck by the many ways that Audrey Jackson reaches out to support her students and create community. In fact, she's raising money right now on Kickstarter to fund a farm trip for her students. My own experience of visiting a farm as a young city girl impacted my learning and parenting considerably, so I delighted in thinking about how that experience will impact Ms. Jackson's students. This is the link should you want to contribute.
Digi-Block Reference
Audrey also introduced me to a new tool, digi-block, which I'd like to explore as well. It's possible that teachers in my system are currently using this Common Core-friendly manipulative so I'll reach out to find out when I return. It was also exciting to think about the fact that Audrey and many other State Teachers of the Year will be meeting with President Obama at the White House this spring. As our conversation continued, I realized once again that there are many organizations and opportunities for educators to get involved in today thanks to the terrific connections we're able to make beginning with Internet platforms such as Twitter, Edutopia, Teachers.Do, PBS Media, Teachers2Teachers, and so many more.

As I learn today, I'll focus on school redesign with a specific attention to shared teaching models, interdisciplinary teaching/learning modules, math education, and school structure and routines. As I continue my work with the NEA/MTA Teacher Leadership Initiative (TLI), I am part of the school redesign cohort. Yesterday we began that work with an online gathering. During the event, we focused on the attributes of knowledge workers, future of learning, and changing education paradigms. That work will dovetail well with today's conference work, and what's better is that one leader from the CTQ school redesign cohort, Lori Nazareno, will be at the conference so I'll have the chance to meet her in person. Other members of the cohort will also be here.

Finally I want to leave room for those powerful serendipitous moments when you are introduced to people and information that you never thought about or considered with depth before, but now turn out to be tremendously motivating and empowering.

With an open, ready mind and a desire to listen to, understand, and collaborate around the stories, needs, and efforts of educators throughout the country, I begin day two of the ECET2 journey. Onward.