Tuesday, April 19, 2016

First Writing EdCamp

Last week I was invited by a fellow ITRT to attend the first ever EdCamp hosted by our district. It was organized by ELA curriculum coordinator, Tami Slater (@tami_slater) in collaboration with ITRTs Casey Nugent (@edtechdonuts) and Heather Causey (@hcausey). Even though the event was geared specifically for high school English teachers, I joined in the fun because I am always looking for ways to improve my own writing as well as strategies to support my beginning writers at the elementary level.


The morning was spent grading essays with the afternoons set up for an open sharing time of various topics. Each "room" was labeled after a famous writer, set up as tables across the cafeteria to allow for convenient movement between sessions.

Each session included a hyperlinked Google Doc for convenient sharing and note-taking. Teachers chose which session they wanted to attend, carrying laptops with them for each rotation. I definitely was the "odd man out" being an elementary-focused educator, but I enjoyed listening to the teachers share their struggles and successes.

Some great sites that were shared included Moving Writers and Storybird for motivating struggling writers. Other sites such as Canva and Piktochart were discussed for students to use in creating infographics. Grammarly was another hot topic for editing and grammar reteaching. We loved how it not only told us what to correct and how, but it also described in detail why we needed to correct our errors. Talk about empowering! Our only wish is that is synced with Google Docs! (Yes, we know we can copy/paste into the Grammarly website, but an automatic analysis would be such a gift!)

I loved listening to the teachers share their ideas of how to run writing stations in their classrooms- so inspiring! From having students rotate from one station to the next crafting a single story or individual stations to reinforce vocabulary and digital writing, it was clear that our teachers are looking for creative ways to engage our students with writing.

I left this EdCamp excited to share this PD concept with teachers in my building as well as the resources described. My hope is that this EdCamp structure grows to the point where we can have multiple EdCamps across the district focused on meaningful conversations as teachers continue to learn and grow!