A couple weeks ago I attended my third Edcamp. If you are a teacher and don’t know what that is, you’re missing out. Edcamp is an “unconference”, which is a a conference with no set schedule or presenters. Sounds crazy? It isn’t. It’s awesome. You show up and enjoy some breakfast and then as educators arrive, they add sessions to the board. There are six slots at a time and you can decide to lead a session on whatever you want, or you can just attend sessions. It’s kind of like Twitter: you can lead conversations or you can lurk. At Edcamp they encourage you to “decide with your feet”, meaning you can leave a session if it’s not a good fit. We’ve all been to conferences and in sessions that were “not a good fit”, right? Ugh. It’s such an awful feeling. If you’re like me, you’re just thinking “Why did I choose this?” “This is wasting my time!” “I’m stuck here forever!!!!” (I tend to get VERY antsy so my reactions become rather extreme). But at Edcamp, it’s different. And awesome. You sit in the session and if you decide it’s not for you, you just get up and leave, no hard feelings. And it’s usually not a presenter just talking to you, there are a lot of conversations going on, which is my favorite way to learn! It’s hard at first: we’re hardwired not to interrupt, to stick it out. But once you take that first step, it’s pretty easy. So, all this to say, you should go to an Edcamp! 🙂
On my way to Edcamp that morning, I was thinking about how I hadn’t been to an English-specific conference in a really long time and how I really want to go to one; however, I don’t have a lot of time and our school has no PD funds left for the summer, so it’s going to be awhile. Then it hit me: How awesome would it be to attend an edcamp for English teachers?! So an idea was born. Early at the conference I shared the idea with Hannah and from there it grew.
I’m SO excited to say that we are hosting an Edcamp at our school September 6th. We’re calling it Edcamp ELA to entice English and Language Arts teachers of all levels. I’d love to see elementary, secondary, and post-secondary educators as well as reading specialists, librarians, and administrators come together to share ideas. I’d love to see teachers facilitating sessions about handling the paper (or virtual paper) load. Teachers sharing ideas for teaching specific novels, writing styles, or vocabulary techniques (ugh, I need this one so bad). I really want to see excited English teachers discussing their favorite novels, children’s books, and assignments. I want to see engaged discussions on Common Core, ACT, and curriculum. I’d like to see educators talk about how they fit everything in, how they teach public speaking, how they approach close reading. In short, I want to see English teachers learning from each other.
The scene in my head is pretty idyllic and I hope it turns out remotely like this. So far we’ve spread the word a little bit, but we’ve got a lot more advertising to do. We’ve gotten two sponsors on board: Dekalb Office and ACOE. We’ve got a team together, a website, an invitation, and a twitter handle (@edcampela –follow us!). There is still a lot to do, but I’m starting to see the vision in my head come together and I couldn’t be happier.
Check out the website for more information: http://edcampela.weebly.com/