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Countdown: EdCamp Social Studies

March 16, 2012

Let’s Camp!

Written with EdCamp Social Studies Co-Organizer, Heather Kilgallon @irishteach

Are you doing something amazing in your classroom that engages students and helps them to learn more? Do your students love social studies and love learning in your class? Or, perhaps, you feel stymied or frustrated by the current state of our education system? Do budget cuts and dwindling resources leave you little choice but to teach in isolation?

Join about one-hundred educators, coming from all corners of the country, on March 24, 2012 in Philadelphia, PA, for EdCamp Social Studies for what is sure to be an inspiring and energetic day of learning and sharing at the Science Leadership Academy, a partnership high school between the School District of Philadelphia and the Franklin Institute. You can register to attend and participate, for free.
Edcamp is based upon an unconference model. It’s a motivating, participant-driven day of professional development, by teachers and for teachers. There is no set schedule of sessions ahead of time as we build the schedule together shortly before and/or the morning of the event. This is not your grandmother’s PD. This is the epitome of creation and collaboration at work. You matter. Your learning matters. Your voice and ideas matter. You deserve the opportunity to discuss ideas freely and to turn your ideas into something tangible for your students. You can also listen to the TeacherCast Podcast about Edcamp Social Studies with co-organizers, Ron Peck and Shawn McCusker for an extended discussion and additional information.

Bring It!

In order to be prepared, it’s best to bring along the following to an EdCamp

  • An open mind
  • A positive attitude
  • A willingness to collaborate and share
  • A couple of your colleagues
  • EdCamps are NOT about formal presentations. They are about conversations and they are fully participatory.
  • A concept or idea that has worked really well in your classroom that you can share and about which you are prepared to guide a discussion.
  • Ideas about things you’d like to learn – you don’t need to teach everyone else if you lead a session, you can just as easily lead a session by asking others to teach you. In other words, practice the inquiry-based practice in leading a session.
  • EdCamps are not techno-centric, however, it is a good idea to bring a laptop or other device as many people will be filling backchannels and Twitter streams around the conversations taking place. Conversations can be centered around tech and non-tech ideas and concepts.

You Can Expect

  • Passionate educators sharing their tricks & techniques
  • Collaboration with others like you in learning new tools, content, etc. together
  • Instantaneous excitement, networking and camaraderie
  • Rich, meaningful conversations that will last far beyond the construct of the day

    image via Flickr by Ann Leanness, used with permission

  • A blank schedule at the start of the day. You’ll be encouraged to put a session idea on a sticky note that you’re willing to lead and the schedule being built from it. This is participant and teacher driven.
  • A rule of two feet, or as fellow organizer, Shawn McCusker would say, the ability to “go where you grow” – if a session doesn’t meet your needs, you keep moving to one that does.
  • A smackdown – at the close, participants have one to two minutes to share a favorite tool, lesson, website or concept in a highly energetic fashion. The resources are curated and shared with all participants and beyond through Twitter.
  • An energizing discussion with best-selling author, Kenneth C. Davis about Don’t Know Much About History. This is the first content-specific EdCamp. Folks will be traveling from near and far and will have the opportunity to challenge their thinking about textbook historical concepts.
  • To leave the event a “happy camper”

Stay tuned! We’ll be posting additional tips and tricks to help you prepare for your EdCamp experience throughout the week.

Let’s Camp!

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