(This post was co-written by Diane Lefebvre and Shelby Bailey.)
I don’t know about everyone else, but today was a mix of overwhelming and excitement for the start of our third day here at DENSI. Overwhelming because there is so much to learn and so little time to get it all in and absorbed. Excitement at the same time because I’m eager to get more in and get to know many more of the fabulous people here!
The energy of the day was definitely noticeable as everyone patiently awaited for the results of the DENmazing Race! (Drumroll…..)
5th Place: Rookies [39:56] Jennifer Hall, Sarah Horner, Carmen Plank & Christine Schein
4th Place: Save Ferris [37:42] Howard Martin, Sarah Yuska, Laura Dawes & Renee Cunningham
3rd Place: Team Full Spectrum [36:29] Bill Wegner, Julie Wegner, Heather Elliot & Seth Gearren
2nd Place: 4 Corners [34:56] Brandon Wislocki, Hugh McDonald, Erica Phillips & Kristen Davis
1st Place: Chrome Killers!!!! [34:19] Terra-Lee Gratton, Melissa Matthews, Rease Allen & Kaitlin Frando
Great job, winning teams! These 5 sure have set the bar for next year. Thank you so much to the DENmazing Race organizing team for putting the events together and to Lockheed Martin for sponsoring this awesome, unforgettable event!
Our next speaker on the topic of Joy was Brandon Wislocki, who shared with us some joyful experiences from his student, forever know as Turkey Chicken, and how this young lady reminded him of how meaningful his role is to inspire and change young souls forever… but during his presentation, music started playing, and Sara Badiner stood up and busted a move to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”, joined by the one and only Shelby Bailey. Next thing you know, one by one people got up and joined in on the moves! It was the very first DENSI Flash Mob!!! What a great way to start the day! A special thank you to Sara for organizing the flash mob as a tribute to Steve Dembo and Porter Palmer.
With the success of the first day of sessions, the second day was eagerly anticipated as DEN members made their way to Cuneo Hall to lead and learn. Everything from flipped learning to other amazing sessions put on by DEN Gurus and Community Managers once again inspired and invigorated our souls. Here’s some words from the DEN community about what their biggest takeaways were:
“The biggest takeaway was the SOS session with Susan who showed us how to “mashup” strategies to meet the needs of our classroom… that was powerful!” (Lisa from SC)
“Steve’s was awesome! Dean did a session about how to stop making boring presentations and what the difference was between the two, showing us some great ways to get photos from Google without copyright issues.” (Melissa from FL)
“Love that there is choice for reading strategies.” (Courtney from TX)
“As a reading teacher, this gives me ideas of how to organize reading stations for students.” (Kelli from TX)
To wrap up a mind-blowing day of learning, Dean hosted the traditional Things That Rock session in the main ballroom. In this activity, Dean posed a topic, and participants moved around the room based on how strongly they felt. (If you agree, move to the right of the room, if you don’t agree, move to the left, if you’re ambivalent, stay in the middle.) Each topic had five minutes to hash out their reasons why they felt the way they felt. Some of the topics included Snow Days, Starbucks, Bathrobes, and Online Voting. The biggest takeaway from this was that educators are passionate people, even if the topic is not education related.
A highlight of the week is always the DENovator Faire, and this year was no exception. Organized by the effervescent Kristy Vincent and sponsored by Lockheed Martin, this event gave attendees the chance to explore, create, and play. What a wide variety of activities in which to participate! There were electronic gadgets to tinker with and crafts to create. It never ceases to amaze how imaginative and resourceful this group is. There was something there for everyone. One participant declared, “Every adult in the world should have the opportunity to come in and play.”
The unconference is tomorrow, and there was a plethora of topics and volunteers to facilitate sessions. This day of DENSI is all about choice – what do YOU need as an educator? It will be another outstanding day of learning!