One of the greatest parts of the DEN is the networking that has happened through the years. This past weekend 10 of my fellow DEN stars came into Chicago and we all hung out, ate, chatted, shared, giggled, learned and played. It was an awesome weekend that was, in many ways, a mini DENSI. They came from PA, CA, MO, KS (well Kansas City) and MI. Amazing, right?
If you haven’t gone to a DENSI (Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute, you are missing out! I don’t know if I’ll be on the magical list that shows up later this month, but it is the BEST professional development ever. It is designed for people like me–ADD with little tolerance for people treating me like an idiot. I love to learn and try and play and please respect me as I do so…and Discovery does. It is a week where I learn everywhere I go, whether it is through the sessions offered or the social gatherings during the day and especially at night where we share, learn and grow together. It is an amazing experience and we created a mini DENSI last weekend.
I think what amazes me the most is that this group of people does not contain your average people. They are all brilliant in their own way, but are also curious, intent on learning and growing and love to laugh. They are open and quick to share and without judgment about tech skills. It is a great combination and they are marvelous people to whom I feel a connection and closeness I treasure.
So thanks. Thanks to Traci, Genny, Katie, Jan, Peg, Emma, Wendy, Gena, Margie, and Amy in no particular order! Thanks to the DEN and Porter and Lance for introducing me to these amazing educators, energizing my teaching and reminding me that there are people like me! I love you all and appreciate everything you do for me!
April 29 at 10:00 you should bring your iPad and your brain down to the Apple Store on Michigan Ave!! We are having a Discovery Event there to share apps, tools and knowledge! If you know little, great! If you know lots, great! Just come and snack and share!
If you haven’t already done so and can make it out to Bozeman, MT in July, you should apply for the DEN Summer Institute. It is, hands down, the BEST professional development you have ever experienced! You will learn tricks and tools to use in the classroom as well as meet some of the most amazing educators in the country.
My entry isn’t the greatest or most creative, but here it is…
and hopefully it’s good enough for an acceptance letter! I’m so excited
Ahhh! I just filled out the application for the DEN STAR Institute. I went last summer and loved it. I learned so much and had a great time in the process. If you have not done it, you should do so! It is worth the plane fare! Of course if you make and I don’t, I’ll be super sad, but at least the best people get to go! Good Luck!
Day 3 and 4 actually amazing. It was structured so that we were able to attend some longer, indepth sessions about a specific program and there were about 5 from which to choose each time. Then there were also several…I think 4 or 5…10 minutes sessions where you were just introduced to a program and if you were interested, you could ask the presenter more later or explore yourself. There were also some very interesting presenters both in the sessions and then as speakers to the whole group–Glogster man (which is how I will refer to him, but he is the man that created Glogster which Traci us in one of the longer sessions), Hall Davidson, Adam and his crew from Wikispaces were my favorites.I loved this set up because for many programs, I just want to see what they do, but would learn more on my own through using the software. But in some cases, like the Google Earth Presentation by Hall Davidson (who is really amazing in the breadth of his knowledge and enthusiasm), there were SO many things to explore and so many applications in the classroom, that the longer sessions were needed. I was also fortunate enough to be in the Google Earth session where Adam Controy (spelling?) volunteered to show some of his work with his students and it was amazing! If you ever have questions about how Google Earth works or how to use it in the classroom, ask Adam…he is in Pennsylvania. I am so excited to get that into my classroom.Another session which I enjoyed was Geocaching. If you haven’t ever done it, you have to try it…of course you have to buy a GPS unit, which isn’t cheap, but what a riot! So our instructor Heather was amazing and set up some caches for us to find and practice our newfound skills. What great fun! Not only was it fun, but I think the kids would really enjoy something like that, but how to get them out and about and how to tie it neatly into my curriculum will be a few challenges I have to overcome! There were ideas about them using them in a field and finding random letters or words and then having to create a word or sentence, but I am not sure how that would work or what it would look like exactly yet, so I have some work to do on that! And at the end some people came in and showed us an app for the iphone for an active spelling game for kids (or adults) that looked like tons of fun, but I can’t really get iphones for all my students….Anyway, it was extremely informative and also tons of fun. It was active, interactive and entertaining! Most of all it was extremely educational for me and I left with so much new knowledge as well as an enthusiasm for integrating all these new tools into my classroom. Woo Hoo!
We watched several Time Warp Trio videos and talked about how they were set up, what the common elements were and who the characters were. Then the students, in groups of 3-4 had to create their own Time Warp Trio show where they visited one of the ancient civilizations we studied this year. They had to incorporate information about that civilization and all the elements of the Time Warp Trio. It was TONS of fun to watch them all and the students really enjoyed it. It was a very successful culminating activity!
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