After a 6.5 hour car ride to Pittsburgh, which was way more fun than expected due to my driving companions David & Doug, we arrived in Mars, PA. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I was bouncing in my seat like a kid seeing Disney for the first time. After checking into our hotel, we headed to the reception and the fun began. I got to meet so many of my Twitter friends that I had never met in person. I had so much fun having face to face conversations with my tweeps!!!
|Andrew, Cheryl, Crystal, Lindsay & myself on the bus ride to Mars...what an amazing PLN I have!|
Then we loaded up on a bus to downtown Mars, where they literally shut down the entire main street for us (granted, Mars is a small town, but still it was pretty awesome!).
Tuesday marked the first official day of the conference, and the morning (after a great keynote by Molly Schroeder) was spent networking with other educators in your field. I was able to connect with other elementary teachers, which I've wanted to do for quite some time. In the afternoon I went to Cheryl Morris & Andrew Thomasson's session on creativity. I learned about some cool new tools, like Kahoot and Grammerly. We played an intense game of rock, paper, scissors, and I learned about the why puppets are an awesome addition to any classroom. My big takeaway was reaffirming what I already believe about students needing to be able to showcase their knowledge in a variety of ways, and that the traditional school setting is slowly killing the creativity in our students.
During lunch, all of the authors Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Learning, signed the book for anyone who wanted us to. First off, it was so beyond exciting to see my chapter (written 2 years ago), finally in print. Secondly, signing books was so weird...there is no other word to describe it.
|See, there's my chapter!!!|
|All attending authors signing books.|
We went to Carnegie Science Museum on Tuesday night for dinner and fun. It was an amazing time! Some of my highlights were: building things out of giant blue blocks, going to the planetarium for the first time in years, and of course dancing...Lindsay Cole, you've got some sweet moves.
|Lindsay Cole, (my dancing partner for the evening).|
|Collaborative effort on the blue blocks #bettertogether|
Wednesday, David Fouch and I presented at 8:30 on the power of collaboration. We didn't have huge attendance numbers because there was a giant storm the night before, knocking down power lines & making most attendees late. That being said, the conversation we had during our session was great, and we even got to hear insights from 2 educators I highly admire (via google hangout), Karl Lindgren-Streicher & Dan Spencer).
|Telling my story.|
The part of the conference I was most nervous about came at 11:00. The authors of the new book all had 5 minutes to "tell a story" about how flipped learning has impacted students. Not only was this the only session in that time slot, but it was also being streamed live to all the virtual attendees...literally hundreds of people. Of course, I was last, so I had to sit through 5 other amazing people telling their stories. When it was my turn, I took the stage & talked about a student I had this year. She had an extremely difficult year at home, bouncing around foster homes. I really connected with her, and was so sad to see her leave in June. On the last day of school she didn't want to give me a hug, but I understood. For her, I was her only consistent adult figure, and now I was leaving too. I was surprised later that day when I received an email from her. She very eloquently thanked me for being her mom this year, and letting me know that she would make me proud.
So, not only was I nervous, I knew that trying to verbalize this story was going to be a challenge. After explaining her background, Jon asked me about the email. All I could get out was that she thanked me for being her mom. I couldn't say more or I would've started crying. Thank goodness I didn't have to talk after that because I was spent.
My final session I attended was having courage to fail...another awesome session led by Cheryl Morris & Lindsay Cole. This really hit home with me because when I started flipping my class, I could have failed miserably, luckily that didn't happen. I certainly had my share of failures, but the key was that I learned from them, and used to them to make me better.
The last thing we did before heading home was find out where Flipcon15 was going to be...I'm not kidding when I say that my Michigan buddies & I were obnoxiously celebratory when we found it out would be held in East Lansing in 2015. I am already looking forward to next year and all the connections I will make at my next Flipcon experience.