Monday, January 20, 2014

Top 5 - From the Downers Grove Playdate #playdatedg58

A blizzard can't keep almost 200 teacher away from a Literacy Blizzard!

On Saturday, I had the privileged of attending the Downers Grove School District Literacy Blizzard - PLAYDATEDG58.

Here are my Top 5 Takeaways:

5.  Professional Development with friends is the best kind of Professional Development. I have a core group of teachers that I have been exploring these events with. The core group is usually the same but each time we go someplace new, we take even more friends along for the ride. This time our traveling PD team consisted of 9 teachers and represented two buildings in our district. We ranged from 1st-5th and a reading coach. The conversations we will have from this day will inspire us for weeks to come. 

4. SafeShare.TV - The amount of resources that are available to teachers and students now is both amazing and overwhelming. One of my favorites is However, with comes a risk and as a primary teacher, this risk freaks me out. Not to worry friends! I learned about! This site allows me to load my favorite educational YouTube videos right in and takes them to a safe page that gets rid of all of the junk!
Check it out:

3. Make Connections: These Playdates are provided by teachers, for teachers. Because of this, they are an amazing place to make connections with amazing educators. As a result of this event, I connected with a fellow 1st grade teacher who was very happy to answer some writing questions for me. This is a powerful connection as my district is contemplating a new main writing program that she is very familiar with.
These educators are an amazing wealth of knowledge that understand the importance of sharing what they know. Talk to them, ask them questions, interact... I did and I am excited to see where these connections will lead. 

2. Spread out: Connect with your team of travelers and spread out among the sessions. This will allow you and your team to gather more valuable information to bring back to your buildings. This is what my traveling friends did. This also gives us an excuse to debrief over lunch. 
We were able to debrief on topics like math talk, 1:1 integration, new and amazing apps, genius hour and close reading, just to name a few. Imagine what we can do with all of that information over the next few weeks.

1. Twitter rules all at these events. The more and more I go to events like these, the more and more convinced I am that Twitter is the most amazing tool for educators. Through Twitter, I was able to hear and see what was going on in the other sessions and meet new people. There were powerful tweets before, during and after the event. Twitter is how I found out this even was going on! Stay connected and stay informed.

For more information on the PlayDate, view the interactive Resource Guide that was provided for us at the event.

My Next PlayDate experience: Playdate Chicago March 8th

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