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Monday, September 21, 2015

Learning and Connecting and Concussions, Oh My!

Last Spring, my Twitter friend (we've never actually met!) @robpennington9 DM'd me to ask if I would be interested in submitting a proposal for presentation at @NJPAECET2.  Never one to say no to an opportunity to learn and share, I said sure!!  To be honest, I had no idea what those letters (outside of the states) even meant!

Fast forward to this past weekend (September 19th and 20th).. Just in case you didn't catch that, it was a WEEKEND!  So many dedicated educators at this conference were willing to give up a weekend because they know how important it is to be life-long, engaged, learners!!

I had been looking forward to this weekend since then because I was finally going to be able to meet some of my PLN that I interact with on a regular basis!  Face to face meetings always warm my heart and reinforce just how amazing my PLN is!

Saturday morning, we were blessed to hear +Principal Kafele speak about the role of culture and the importance of the student vs the importance of curriculum.  He was inspiring and really should be heard by all educators, no matter what gender, race or ethnicity you are or what the diversity is in your school.  His message transcends race and ethnic lines.

Sunday morning, @joycevalenza raised my consciousness of gender issues both in the workplace and in the classroom.  Such an important conversation about what we are doing to perpetuate the inequity and what we can do to combat it.  It's easy to think that in 2015, gender inequity isn't a thing, but believe me, it is!

Also on Sunday morning, we heard @snydesn2 talk about his re-entry into the love of teaching.  I found myself nodding for 99% of his talk.  I've been there.  I wanted to leave teaching.  I thought I was done.  Thankfully, I am back in (http://spartansocialstudies.blogspot.com/2015/04/i-used-to-be-sitting-in-seat-17d.html) and so is he!  We need to help those educators around us who aren't feeling like this is their calling anymore.  When you re-enter,  you need to pay it forward! We owe it to the students to reignite the flame of their teachers!

I had signed up for some pretty awesome sessions this weekend (https://goo.gl/ODvHnp) so I was eager to get my learn on!

Here are the highlights of the weekend!

I was able to learn more about podcasting from the amazing (@mrnesi and @iruntech)!  They are podcasting gurus and always have so much to offer!  Thank you for reminding me how much I love podcasts and once again getting me hooked on repurposing my time in the car!

I learned some new tricks with the programs I use all time like +EDpuzzle and #Google Forms from Jennifer Mezzina.

I was able to have a thought provoking conversation with @daretochem regarding Flipped classrooms and asynchronous learning.  He helped me get through one of the mental hurdles I had regarding testing in an asynchronous environment.  It's amazing when you look at something from a different perspective, how easy it seemed to be to solve!

I was blown away (as always) by @geekyteach and her Google knowledge!  She showed us how to use Google Slides in ways I never knew was possible.  (this is where the concussion part of the title comes in.) When I left her session, I felt the same dazed feeling I've experienced after both of my physical concussions.  Thankfully, she gave us a user manual for everything because there was no way in my dazed condition I was going to remember everything!! Here is the link to the manual:  I will be using this daily!

I was inspired by @srtanrodriguez during her session on engaging learners!  I learned some new tricks for engagement strategies I currently use and about Go Formative!  Definitely incorporating that in my class TODAY! (Don't you just love when you can learn something on a weekend and use it on Monday!)  Her presentation can be found here: https://goo.gl/JYNqD

I learned how to use Blab from @mrnesi! This has awesome possibility for several of my classes!  It was great to see +Sarah Thomas on Blab and be able to converse with her!

The connections I made this weekend were inspiring, heart warming and lasting!  I was able to actually meet +Samantha Fecich in person this weekend!  She is a professor at Grove City College and I am a virtual co-operating teacher for her preservice teachers.  We have communicated on many occasions, but never actually met (you will see this trend a lot this weekend) but this weekend we hugged, walked and had awesome conversations about pedagogy, school culture and ideology!

I ate dinner with my tribe! @iruntech @MrSchoenbart +Dani Raskin @chrissyromano@TheConnectedEdu @whalen @TaliaArbit @mrnesi @tinamonte The conversation at dinner was varied, spirited and rejuvenating for my soul!  Making these connections is really what life is about.  Being able to bring a diverse group of welcoming educators together for a conversation and food should be a goal of every educator!

I FINALLY got to meet @mr_issacs and @iwearthecrowns in person! I have been connected with both of them on an almost daily basis on social media for two years.  The hugs and conversation will stay with me for a very long time!

Reconnecting with @spaul6414 @geekyteach and @kerszi always results in an amazing amount of learning on my part!  All three are passionate educators that are willing to share their knowledge and craft with everyone!

I got to meet @Xanth_K and @darriapizzuto who are part of our #BFC530 crew and an important part of my PLN!  They are inspiring educators who really are dedicated to our profession.

I finally got to meet +barry saide and @Glennr1809!  Two people who are nationally known for their efforts on behalf of eduactors, students and parents.  Talk about being star struck!  It's not everyday you get to mingle with two people who are educelebs!

I know I am forgetting things I learned (I'm still processing this weekend as the effects of the learning concussion wear off) and people with whom I connected this weekend and for that I apologize.

This weekend will allow me to adjust several things in my craft and gave me many, many things to share with my both my brick and mortar colleagues as well as my Twitter colleagues.

I can't thank @NJPAECET2 enough for inviting me to this inspiring weekend.  I am now charged with making today better than yesterday!  I am on it!

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