Image taken from: https://innovated19.sched.com/
Saturday, February 9th, 2019. What every teacher wants to do on her day off: Go to a teaching conference? If it’s this one, YES!
This is my favorite conference to attend each year. NapaLearns makes this a no-brainer: Get paid $150 to attend a wonderful day filled with fabulous, realistic and “do-able” ideas from experienced presenters. AND you get coffee, pastries, snacks, lunch, and a raffle at the end! What more could a teacher ask for in a conference? I’ll tell you what: a hilarious, energetic, and genius keynote speaker. Done.
Jon Corippo from CUE.org launched into his dynamic menu of protocol style lesson ideas to start our morning off. What I love about him is his humor, and low-prep/high interest innovations such as “Iron Chef” and “8 Parts Protocol.” These are classroom web/online protocols, or routines, that are taught frequently until students become familiar with them. Then, the protocol stays the same, while the content changes. Students are able to focus on the new content because they are already familiar with the protocol. This keeps prep to a minimum for the teacher, and grading is a snap because responses are digital and easily viewed at once. He’s recently authored a book called EduProtocols, and I can’t wait to read it!
First workshop of the day for me was “Screencasting Made Simple” with the wonderful Scott Marsden. I have to admit that this was the second time I took this course. I took it last year, and since I didn’t practice it, I forgot what I had learned. Additionally, I apparently installed Screencastify and also forgot! This goes to prove that you need to practice your new skills, or you lose them. Now that I am in the Innovative Learning program at Touro, I have had many reasons to learn how to create screencasts, and more than a couple of opportunities to practice the skill. This made it great to take Scott’s workshop again to deepen my learning. We were able to try out some fancy microphones and compare Screencastify features with Screencast-O-Matic’s, all with Scott there to guide us.
For my second session, I jumped at the chance to spend more time learning from Jon Corippo, for “Unstructured Time with Jon.” During this session, he showed us an innovative way to get ALL students to respond to a resource in pairs, using a protocol called “Cyber Sandwich.” The resource could be any educational prompts that you want students to compare/contrast. All students take notes on their source on a google slide, and then compare and report out on similarities or differences on a new slide. Then these slides are shared out with the class and perhaps combined to create whole class findings. We also practiced using the Quizizz app as a quick way to improve student success with memorization-type standards/skills. He pointed out that this app allows students to work at their own pace (unlike Cahoot), and quickly move to the top of the class based on performance. The app gives you data on the most difficult questions, length of time taken to answer, and more. When you give the same quiz again, students are highly motivated to perform better and most often do! Again, very little prep and no grading for the teacher--especially when teachers work together to create quizzes.
My next session was “F is for Feedback.” This was a great session geared toward the importance of feedback, and how to give students the skills to provide quality feedback to one another. I really enjoyed the connection to John Hattie’s work, and how feedback is one of the most effective tools for student growth. The rubric process introduced in this workshop would surely hit two birds with one stone. Students would learn to give accurate feedback to their peers AND through the process, instantly be given crystal clear expectations for their own work.
Finally, the last session of the day for me was “Mass Individualization with Merge Tools.” I have never been able to wrangle any skill involving merging--so I decided to feed the growth mindset voice in my head on this one. While I was able to follow along step-by-step successfully, I honestly doubt I would be able to reproduce the results I got in this workshop. Perhaps I selected something outside the range of my ability level. During the workshop, we spent time in Google Sheets (I should’ve know at that point that this was out of my league), and fooled around with two add-ons for Sheets called “FormMule” and “AutoCrat.” Both seem like wonderful apps. I just don’t think I’ll be ever able to use them on my own. Then again, I might find myself back in a year building up these skills just like I did with Screencastify!