Environment

Why edcamp?

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edcamphill.com

It’s 7:08 PM and I am super energized!

Today was edcampHill, the first edcamp hosted by a boarding school. The Hill School (Zach Lehman, Headmaster) graciously opened up its campus for the afternoon to a group of teachers who traveled from far and near to spend a few hours of learning. I was happy to assist Kim (@ksivick) and take part in the organizing team.

As soon as edcampHill began around noon, teachers’ enthusiasm enlivened the room. The session board filled up just as quickly the meeting room was being filled up by the attendees. After checking in and getting their name tags, teachers enjoyed a big bagged lunch provided by the Hill School. Teachers enjoyed talking over lunch and got ready to begin their learning.

I want to point out 3 noticeable differences of this edcamp over other ones from the past:

  1. Later start time. Starting at noon was a practical decision made by the Hill School as it holds classes on Saturday mornings. A later start to edcamp gave travelers time to travel to edcamp location unhurriedly. I know I felt good coming in later in the morning.
  2. Free, delicious lunch. It was so great that we started the learning day with a delicious lunch. Not worrying about where to find places to eat (and for organizers, not having to point attendees to local eateries) was a huge plus!
  3. A personal touch. Nothing beats face-to-face meetings. It was great for Zach Lehman, the headmaster, to greet many attendees as they walked in. His personal welcome set a positive tone to start our learning.

Sessions – Conversations

As I mentioned earlier, teachers wasted no time posting sessions. The sessions were:

  • ArtStor: Using High Quality art from museums
  • Using Primary Sources for Student Engagement
  • Play = Creativity: 21st Century Children – Are they missing this?
  • RTII: Response to Instruction and Intervention. Data, Exceptions and Technology Integration
  • “Digital Writing” in various disciplines
  • Technology and Real World Learning in Foreign Languages
  • The Connected Educator: Learn to Build a Personal Learning Network
  • Flipping Instruction
  • Blogging in the Elementary Classroom
  • Inquiry-Based AP Labs
  • iPad Apps
  • Can Entrepreneurship be taught?
  • Connecting Classrooms to Open Data for real world learning
  • Educational Leadership: Drivers of Systems relating to people
  • Homework – No; Studying – Yes! (achieving mastery)

Three 45-minute sessions passed by quickly as teachers engaged in meaning conversations, sharing experiences and resources. What I love is the conversations and sharing that takes place at edcamps. Personally, I attended the sessions underlined. It was fun co-leading discussion with Kim on being a connected educator. Every session was meaningful.

So why do I get involved in edcamps?

I believe that it’s the best learning format for teachers to learn and share. Coincidentally, this morning’s #satchat topic was on faculty meetings. Edcamp model for Professional Development was mentioned numerous times by yours truly and other educators. What is there not to like? Nothing can beat free registration, teachers teaching teachers, casual and fun learning environment.

If you took part in today’s edcampHill, thank you! I learned much and my colleagues and I will take back what we learned to our school community. You have made me a better educator and colleague.

Thank you Hill School! Many teachers left energized and happy! Thank you for being a gracious host.

Let’s do it again real soon! *High* Five*

@Doremigirl

Charles Hazlewood: Trusting the Ensemble

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I can’t get this TEDTalk by Charles Hazlewood out of my head. It’s been months since @shaugland shared this link on Twitter.  Even if you are not a conductor, you should watch this. If you are a parent, a teacher, or a musician, you need to watch this and get into the conversation:

This brilliant presentation contains much food for thought.

TRUST is an important word. I would guess that many of us like being on the receiving end (ie. people trusting us). Boy, isn’t it hard to trust others? :-)

This quote by an unknown author deeply resonates with Maestro Hazlewood:

Trust is the best medium for success. It creates an environment in which people feel free to be authentic, passionate, committed, and willing to share all they have to offer. ~author unknown

 

I reflected a lot, thinking about the simile (conducting is like a small bird in your hand) and the lessons learned through the South African Music project, the singing demonstration by the TED Choir (the F-E-D motive), the extraordinary story behind the Paraorchestra, and of Haydn‘s wordless, but apparent revolt in Farewell Symphony finale. The Maestro challenged me as a musician and teacher to assess myself as an artistic leader.

What am I doing to create a safe and passionate space for my students? What needs to change?

Musicians and music teachers, think of your ensembles. What is your story? What is your experience building trust with your group? How do you inspire the young musicians to feel free to be themselves, but give all to their ensemble?

And do you agree with this statement?

Where there is trust, there is music, and by extension, life. Where there is no trust, music simply withers away….

 

Why or why not?

~ Yoon (will post a post regarding my experience with my choirs)

So Pumped!

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I guess I can use any these words: psyched, elated, happy, & inspired.

Today is an in-service day. All of my colleagues and I have been working hard, thinking, teaching, laughing, and making connections with the kids. We’ve been feeling like we’ve had too much snow, and feeling like we’ve had too much of everything.

It’s just that time of the year when everyone’s sluggish (not to mention, our students started their 5-day break today!).

And then it happened.

My closest colleagues, Dina, Evan and Jerald, and I met together after lunch to talk about our department happenings. Dina and Evan teach art; Jerald and I teach music. All of us are very different, but work really well together.

We began to talk about our Visiting Artist Week - answering questions to what worked well? What didn’t? What can we do better?

And then it kept happening.

What, do you ask? Collaboration of ideas! Four of us actively engaged in lively conversations about integrated curricula for next two years. We were drawing, writing, laughing, smiling, and passion-driven.

This is why I love working with these people. They inspired me to keep going and create art and solve problems together.

I love it that we work beautifully together and make learning fun and excellent for the students.

Here’s a recent picture of us:

How incredibly blessed I am to learn and work with them!

 

N.B. This particular meeting went half hour into our personal learning hour (first time we were given this for in-service day). Since were encouraged to do something for ourselves to either learn or do,  I chose to reflect. It was fun sharing this post with my colleagues during our wrap-up!

Update ~ Uno

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I have been too tired to write blog posts lately :(.

There have been about a million of victories and challenges since my last post. So let’s start from where we left off: Earth Week.

My assignment to the 5th grade was to use vegetables or recyclable items specifically to create an instrument. When the students came into my classroom with their creation, I was stunned by their creativity:

3 Carrot Ocarina/Kazoo, 1 Honey Dew Bongo Drums, 1 Spaghetti Squash Bongo-Shaker Combo, Homemade Cup Shakers, Recycled packaging drum, a Pair of Wine Box Washboards, 3-Bottle flute, Tissue Box Guitar, a Pair of Parsnip Shakers, 1 English Cucumber Wind Pipe, 1 Zucchini recorder, and 1 Egg Plant Clapper.

Some of these students had a chance to demonstrate in front of the entire school. It was really fun to watch them & hear their performance during Go Green! song. Everyone cheered them on; I was a very happy music teacher!

Friday April 23rd was our last day of Earth Week celebration. Invited guests and vendors set up stations outside on our campus. Student groups visited each station talking to representatives. Although there were many interesting stations (we had a Tesla Roadster parked at a station!), my personal favorite was of this man:

I heard him from afar as I went around different stations. He was singing fun songs to the kids who sat around the amphitheater conversing and singing to them. As I approached the amphitheater, I noticed his set up: usual speakers, mixer, mic stand guitar…and a SOLAR PANEL. All of his equipment was powered by solar power. HOW COOL IS THAT? I found out that he’s been playing music all of his life. He loves to go and provide music for the local farmers’ market (YES! Support the local farms!) and a farmer got tired of running extension chords for him and suggested that he should build a solar panel to power all of his gear.

What an idea.

Chris Adams invested $800 buying things he need to build himself the panel you see above. I love this idea, especially as a music teacher. It literally was one of the most coolest things I’ve seen. Chris said that his wife, the practical one of the two, has always snickered at his “expensive” props – until one day when power was down and she, the caterer, needed to prep for her client. The solar generator kept the refrigerator running, allowing her to not waste food, time or money. She changed her mind after that.

Many people might dream of upgrading their kitchen, the family room, getting a new set of furniture or even buying a new car. Lately, I’ve been thinking about ways to get solar panels! Thank you, Earth-preserving friends at my school for influencing me! :-)