On April 9th 2016, I attended my first #EDcamp; however, I also got to experience the setting up of Edcamp.

I was not really sure what to expect, but I was contacted by one of the organizers about learning how to prepare an Edcamp, and since it was a new learning opportunity I excitedly accepted. The day before Edcamp, I met the main organizers, who took me through the basic concept of setting up an Ed camp. Basically its an organized, unplanned event that is well advertised. In the future I would love to plan one for which ever school division I get employed at, or bring it back to the university and increase the school divisions that attend.

I attended four different sessions today, all of which were very different learning experiences. The first was “Using the Art of Improv to Better your Teaching” presented by a fellow classmate @CamChomyn. He uses the thee rules of improv to better his teaching techniques;

Rule #1- “Yes, and…” always provide the opportunity for students to be willing to make suggestion, act on these suggestions. He gave two examples, the first one he provided the example of how he teaches improv to those that are actors, he told a story, and at every point when there was a decision we had to say yes, this made the story progress, but when we did the same activity with the story, but said no to the first question than the story ended. This is the same thing that happens when we teach, if we allow the students to continue to progress in their journey they will be able to learn and grow at their own pace. But, if we force their learning, than they will not be able to make the same progress.

Rule #2- celebrate the students failures. If we allow students to think of failures, as learning than they will not be afraid of taking risks.

Rule #3- be an active listener. You have two ears and one mouth. Listen to what the students are saying, how they are saying it, and what it means. This is all very important, because it but context into the words being said.

The second session I attended was focused around treaties, social justice and the TRC. This session focuses building the relationships before engaging students in powerful conversations. Use current events/ issues to teach about the past, there are a lot of similarities.

The third session I attend was focused around flipped classrooms. I have always been interested in using flipped classrooms to teach math. The idea behind flipped classrooms is the have a quick video that the students will watch on their own time, and than during class they will complete an assignment. Videos can be either created, or borrowed from other websites. The biggest flaw with this style of teaching is that you are depending students to have access to technology. Flipped classrooms allow for those that are struggling to get more one on one time with the teacher, and those that got the activity to have time practicing it without getting bored. For students that seem to really get the lesson, they can make their own videos, because the way to prove you really know something is to be able to teach it to others.

The fourth and final session I attended was on Genius hour. This is something that I have always been curious about, more so because I have heard some teachers say it worked really well and others say it was a waste of time. The way @mrfiege approached the topic is as a continuous subject taught for 90 minutes once a week, throughout the whole  year. In one year, 5-6 different projects can be completed. The first one is the hardest because that is when all of the training happens, students are starting with a clean slate of how to research, do group work, present, and create good questions. For the first presentation, let the students pick whatever they want for a question, even if it is an easy one. Some of the students will choose a more difficult one, and the other students will see this during the presentations and strive to achieve this. By the third presentation most of the students have a strong grasp of creating a proper genius hour presentation. For the fourth one, base it on a subject or outcome that students can use to expand their learning. The fifth one is skills based where they will learn a new skill, students will present on their growth and progress of the new skill. The sixth and final one can be students choice to see the progress of the students; however, depending on the amount of time left in the school year students will not be marked, since they will be rushed. I think that using genius hour as a class is a great way to get the students engaged in the classroom and their own learning.

Throughout the day I have learned so many strategies and ideas for teaching, I hope that once I get my own classroom I can implement some of these strategies into my classroom. I plan on attending more ed camps in the future.