"I See DEN People"

Hotel_jeffery_1 I had a sixth sense about it.  There was just something in the air.  Negativity didn’t stand a ghost of a chance.  At this time, Halloween was just over a week away and I think everyone was secretly hoping nothing would jump out and grab them during their overnight stay at the Hotel Jeffery in Coulterville, California.  They had gathered together for an event that we called "Digital (Ghost) Storytelling at the Haunted Hotel."  Christine

The weather was perfect.  Over twenty educators from northern California met at the Hotel Jeffery late on Saturday afternoon.  After finding their assigned hotel rooms, we had a Meet-and-Greet in the large, beamed Meet_greet_eat_and_drinkconference room where many of us would be working late into the night.  We were fortunate to have a special guest with us for the weekend.  Mark Jeffery, one of our most active northern California STAR Discovery Educators is also a "Jeffery" of the original "Hotel Jeffery" family!  He spoke to our group briefly about the family history of the hotel and the family’s time in the town of Coulterville. Cheryl_gives_tour

Our educators continued their conversations with each other.  They were a chatty group… maybe it was nervous talking.  When Cherylann Schimmelfennig arrived though, a silence fell over the crowd.  As she took us on a tour of the three story hotel, she began to share stories of the many eerie incidents that had occured over the past three years that she and husband Peter have been the owners.  The_pete_and_pete_showCould it be possible that there really were 17 ghosts haunting  this hotel?  Would they make themselves known to us during the night? Cherylann assured us that these 17 documented entities were of the friendly type.  Still, eyes seemed  wide and we made sure to stick close together!

Town_tour After our tour of the hotel, I instructed our educators to gather their jackets and flashlights and head across the street to the Northern Mariposa County Historical Center.  I was surprised that no one asked why they Yikeswould need flashlights to visit a well-lit museum!  If they were curious, it all became clear as the museum docent took us out into the, now dark, town of Coulterville.  There aren’t many street lights along Main Street.  We walked up the street, stopping occasionally to hear the history of some of the buildings.  As we headed further and further from the main part of town, the whispering began, "Where are we going?"  "Are we going to the cemetery?"  Oh, you bet we were!  This was the end of the road!


Evidently, fear makes you hungry.  After a quiet and cautious walk around the cemetery grounds, we high-tailed it back to the hotel for a multi-course gourmet meal.  Yet again, it was all about the food.Its_all_about_the_food

By the time that we had finished dinner (and dessert!) it was way past my bedtime.  But, it was also time to get serious about why we had gathered together… digital storytelling.  We reconvened in our conference room and after a couple of brief tutorials, each educator set to work on creating a digital story about a famous figure from history.  All assignments needed to be completed by 9AM on Sunday morning when everyone would share their new resource.

Serious_businessMy last DEN member finally went to bed at 3AM.  (I guess that is what I get for having fabulous, dedicated and talented educators!)  Sunday morning came all too soon.  We had a hearty breakfast and then shared our projects.  While no one reported any ghostly encounters Can_you_see_the_3am_winnerthat night, I got to see the spirit of the Discovery Educator Network live and in action. Reaping_the_rewards_1 

Thanks everyone for a wonderful weekend!




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  1. Jackie Wimberley said:

    There’s not a “ghost of a chance” anyone will soon forget the great den event at the Jeffery Hotel in Coulterville. Besides the fun and fellowship, there was even ample time to produce some quality projects. The event ended on Sunday morning with participants “airing” their movies. I continue to be inspired. Thanks, Susan!

  2. Scott Skidmore said:

    Wow! What a great blast from the past. This event was outstanding. Susan, you keep outdoing yourself. This was the perfect environment to produce good stories. You set a grand scene, gave us ample resources and treated us to yet another unrivaled experience. Every time I participate in a DEN event I leave with my head spinning with ideas for my classroom and a Trick –or – Treater’s bag full of new experiences and skills. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to get beyond the 4 walls of my classroom, outside the confines of my district, and have a chance to develop my skills and collaborate with such a diverse and talented group of educators.

  3. Therese Tiab said:

    Never in my life would I have ever discovered such a great get-away. The Hotel Jeffrey and the whole ghost theme of our presentation preparation was perfectly arranged. It was a bit spooky how it all kind of fit together – including the DEN member Jeffrey Hotel namesake and his connection to our high commander! Anyway, for someone like me, who is forcing herself to become technology literate against all odds, it was very exciting. I actually won a prize for having finished and uploaded my project before the weekend drew to a close. It was my very first attempt at power point not to mention the unitedstreaming end of it with embedding video segments etc. I learned a lot and want to learn more. Thanks for this great segue into the dark world of producing tech oriented lessons!
    Therese Tiab
    West Sacramento, CA

  4. Julie Scott said:

    What a great group of educators and what a fun event! I’m half sorry I didn’t see any spooks, and half thrilled I didn’t! You can read my version of events on my blog. (Click on my name below. It’s the October 31st post.) I look forward to attending many more DEN Events!

  5. Kathryn Odell said:

    The DEN event at the Hotel Jeffery was awesome. It was fun to step back in the past, investigating history and learning how to use United Streaming to create a great educational project! Thanks, Susan, for all you did to make the weekend a success!

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