02 February 2011

Educon 2.3, My Tribe

   Educon 2.3photo © 2011 Kevin Jarrett | more info (via: Wylio)
Thank God for snow days when you are trying to reflect on action-packed weekends with your "tribe."  And that's what Educon 2.3 felt like for me. It was my first educon, and I came away with some big ideas, but just as many new relationships. I am the outlier at my school. Spending two days sitting with 10 windows open on my laptop with my phone  next to me while I tweeted, reflected, listened, and participated felt so natural. I belonged. I was powering through those days like the LEARNER that I love to be. At school, letting my learner hang out sometimes just marks me as different. So thanks to everyone for that.
   There are few things that I don't want to forget before I get  a chance to use them. Here they are:
 1. Kathleen Cushman money quote Sunday AM: "If you want to know what it takes to get good at something, ask one of your students." I'm doing just that today with my senior seminar students who are far behind on their projects. Maybe I need to hear what they need, instead of telling them what they need TO DO.
2. Every conversation seemed to get around to relationships--every one. The one that stuck with me was during Chris Craft's conversation on motivation. The demand that every task should contain value that motivates a student to complete it-golden. The observations from my teammates that so often their own spark was started in a relationship with a family member, a teacher, a friend=PRICELESS. Gotta start multiplying those moments with my kids.
A close second was watching the chemistry between Jen Laufenberg, Zac Chase and Rosalind Echols as they described the collaborative Building History project. Good design, for sure, but the experience and ability to appreciate each other's strengths in those relationships was what drove that project and enabled the students to excel.
3. The discussion on Why Johnny Can't Read? with David Jakes  and Laura Deisley  was as analytical and focused  discussion I have ever had on the topic. I worry about what is lost as our children substitute other activities for deep reading. So to work  a huge room of teachers around to understanding that we are still needed to drive students towards making the  decisions and choices that are critical for their success as literate people was a better way for me to view the changes that I can see with my own eyes every day. And it gave me a chance to laugh at myself: I spend every day as a metacognitive reader and learner, and I sure do point to my "GOOD READERS" poster often. But I need to go further and apprise THEM of their goal: to be metacognitive about all the information they take in. The poster will be redone as the front page on our wiki  and our blogs by the weekend.

And lastly,  who could not be dazzled by those kids at SLA? Hard working, smart, funny, self-confident and creative. Chris Lehmann: It's all working. Bravo.

P.S. But what's with the logo??????

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