I’ve had a professional crush on my PLN for almost two years now since I began my journey as a #flipclass teacher. This journey has introduced me to teachers from all over the world, and not a day goes by it seems that I don’t connect with them in one way or another. They are my rock and keep me grounded while challenging me to be and do better as a teacher. There are a even a few who have become my friends, and while I’ve never actually been in the same room with them – I’d be there for them in a heartbeat.
Ok – I could gush all day about my PLN, but I’m pretty convinced my relationship with these EduAwesome teachers went from just a crush to long term serious with my experience today.
This afternoon I participated in the second #edcampHOME. This was my first EdCamp & if the three hours I spent with 200+ teachers from all over the globe was any indication of edcamps in general – you are going to see me at more of these (I’m even contemplating organizing one in my district!). Organized by the fab four: Karl Lindgren-Striecher, Kelly Kermode, fellow ‘Shire resident Shawn White, and David Theriault, I was able to get some of the best PD I’ve experienced from the warmth of my house (and this is a big deal considering it was -20 outside today).
The whole edcamp was connected today via live Google Hangouts. This way teachers from all over could get together at the same time and chat about all things education. Having helped moderate a few on-air GHOs, I signed up to be a moderator for the two sessions. Session topics were determined yesterday when the participants started throwing out ideas on what they wanted to discuss with each other (this is something I totally dig about the edcamp experience – they aren’t planned; they are totally driven by what educators want to learn).
The two sessions I moderated were both on healthy grading practices (session 1 & session 2). I was drawn to this topic because I have been recently thinking a ton about how and why we grade our students. However, I find myself stuck on how to change such a deeply seeded aspect of our education system. I want to get my students back on track to learning first, and worrying about ‘the grade’ second (if at all….topic for another post, perhaps). These two session had teachers of all areas and grade levels spread across the country, and I found it comforting (in an odd sort of way) to know that the mental struggles on grading I’m having, these teachers are experiencing too. Both sessions were great kick-off conversations, and in both cases the conversations steered towards the value of standards-based grading (SBG). Having teachers of various grade levels there was great, because this is definitely a conversation we need to have K-12.
All the sessions from edcampHOME are archived and available for all to watch. I’ve already watched many of the others (from gamification to GAFE to gScripts…), and while there were a number of familiar faces, I heard from many new teachers today. Teachers willing to share; willing to go after what is tough; willing to push the envelope and put our students first.
I came away from today busting with ideas, eager to get back to work. I was honestly bummed when the time was up – I think my session could have continued for hours. While there was no magic answer today to fix my grading woes, the discussions I had with open-minded educators left me ready to commit to finding the answer.
This is why I love my PLN.
We are #bettertogether.