Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Take-Aways from EdCamp Tulsa

I love EdCamps!  I attended my first one last summer at EdCamp Kansas, and I have been to two more since - EdCamp OKC and EdCamp Tulsa.  It is so much fun getting together with other educators who love to learn and want to do so on our own terms.  Amazing things can happen!

This last weekend, I was in Tulsa for EdCamp Tulsa, and as usual I came away with lots of new ideas and a renewed energy. I thought I'd share my three top take-aways.

First, a set of apps made by PlayFacto.  There are several, but these are my favorites:

This one is for younger kids working to make tens.  They place the tiles in the squares so that they make 10 along the lines marked.  The player who makes the most sets wins.

In this one, the kids practice their spatial awareness with building blocks.  They have to build the picture on the card within the time limit.

I enjoy both of these, but I will say that you would want to practice before setting your kids loose on them. They can be a bit confusing until you figure out the way the app works.

Secondly, a practice routine.  For kids who are having trouble grasping a concept, have them do the same practice problems until they can get them 100% correct.  Then give them a very similar worksheet and allow them to use the first one as a guide.  Let them become comfortable with being correct.
Third, and the one I immediately shared with my co-workers and put into practice in my classroom - "My Favorite No."

The video is about 6 minutes, but it's worth it.  I've only done it twice (it is only Tuesday after all!), and the engagement is amazing.  The kids love finding what is correct in the problems and are surprised at how few things are actually wrong with an incorrect answer.  I'm looking forward to seeing how it improves their math skills and am working to figure out a way to incorporate it in reading and writing.

Finally, a bonus take-away.  :)  I want a planetarium at my school!  Jenks Public Schools does so many amazing things with theirs!  Look at this:

Can you imagine being able to study the Sistine Chapel in detail, pulling out individual pieces of art to enlarge and discuss?  (Thanks Dan Krutka for the picture.) What about showing maps that actually curve like the earth does?  Or having students write, perform and publish their own planetarium shows?  These are all things done at Jenks.  I am so jealous!

I learned so much more, but these are the things I am working on implementing right now.  What are some things you are doing?