DENSI 2014 – Wednesday update

This post by Monique Liles

We started off the sessions with a bang and a fun and interactive assessment using Kahoot. I will definitely be using Kahoot to teach the student handbook as a back to school activity.

Image by M Lander

The DENSI2014 sessions started off with the great Dr. Lodge McCammon. He taught us strategies for maximizing teacher effectiveness, and how to be mindful of the brain body connections. He emphasized how we should use teaching strategies to be the most effective educators we can be, and to increase student engagement and achievement.

There were many great sessions on Tuesday! My brain is spinning with information, and I am reading through my notes furiously to annotate them with specifics on how I will implement them in a couple of weeks when school begins. I know I am not the only one, and look forward to continued collaboration with the greatest PLN in the world. The sessions that I attended were stuffed full of so much information that many have vowed to continue the conversations.

Sandi Dennis, an LC member from Georgia, delivered an awesome session on back-channeling. Many tools were reviewed, new and previously known. Unique ways were presented, to use these tools for formative assessment, to engage learners, to be inclusive, to gather data, and to be just plain fun.

Tracy Carpenter held a mind blowing session on ice breakers, and getting to know your students. She used established pedagogy and fused it with fun digital tools, and hands on projects. I have already started making a list of the things I will use the first weeks of school.

Steve Dembo shared some great tools for tinkering, making, and exploring. We created joy sticks to play Pac Man with Play Doh, alligator clips, and circuits. Bananas and other objects were turned into drums, and cardboard boxes turned into wonderfully imagined objects with fasteners. I was challenged to come up with a way to integrate these tools into my Earth Science class, when RaFranz showed me the light with the “Wonder Shelf”. Immediately I was able to see a way to make this happen while solving the problem of “what do I do when I’m all done?”. Students can explore the Wonder Shelf while I am helping others, etc.

Dacia Jones, the Fairy Grant Mother, bestowed her blessings on us in the form of a bevy of information on obtaining several types of grants. She also graciously offered to work with people one on one to get their grants started.

There were so many great sessions that I could not get to them all. I hope everyone checks the DENSI2014 resources folder on Edmodo, the Google Docs, and the resources for all of the wonderful DENSI2014 sessions. Scale the DEN’s impact by sharing information on social media, and at your schools when you return to work and share with others.

Finally, we met with our teams to recap and share out our learning. This is an important reflective and sharing component that is a feature at every DENSI event, but lacking in most professional development opportunities. This allocated time gives us critical wind down and reflection time, which helps us to absorb and organize all of the information we have learned during the day. We learn so much at DENSI, that it is critical to give us a chance to slow down and reflect, lest our brains explode or melt from overload.

Leave a Comment

For your photo to appear next to your name, be sure you have a Gravatar.com account created matching your email address.