Saturday, February 7, 2015


This week I attended TCEA15 in Austin, Texas for the first time. I have been looking forward to this week for months and it was well worth the wait! I'm thankful to my husband, my principal and our GCISD Education Foundation for providing me the opportunity to attend. While it was tough being away from my family (thank goodness for texting and Skype) and my students (thank goodness for my student intern, my team, Google Classroom, Kidblog, Padlet and Skype)....
I feel recharged as a mom and educator. Plus, I met new people and learned SO much - I'm not sure how to sort through it all! : ) In an effort to remember some key ideas, I thought I'd reflect on my week and share a few of my favorites. Here are a few of my favorite things about TCEA (but not limited to the only favorite can I choose?)

Learning - The amount of information I took in this week is incredible. I have my notes, notes from peers, links shared from Twitter posts, the handouts from the conference app, and more. As I scan through my notes, here are a few things on my To Do List:
*Try out the apps Hyperlapse, PhotoMath, Number Frames, Minecraft in our classroom. Try TalkTyper (student speaks, site writes) with students.
*Use thinglink in the classroom (I've used it for a teaching tool but haven't taught my students... yet)
*Use iPad app dice - you can find a variety of these on Pinterest. (I think I will use this one. While I prefer my students make a product of choice, I've noticed they get comfortable using the same app all the time. This way, I think they will be pushed out of their happy place in order to try something new.)
*Use for tons of math resources, especially the word problem generator
*Use Google Form plus BatchGeo to make a map to show our classroom connections (Flat Stanley, Holiday Card Exchange, Mystery Skype).
*Find out how to display students' products in our community. Wonderful way to show our learning than to display it for all to see, plus it provides an authentic audience for our children.
*Have students share their products at Faculty Meetings to inspire others.
I have a TON more on my iPad and Google Folder but these are just a few.

Connecting - What an incredible feeling to be surrounded by hundreds (thousands?? felt like it) of like-minded people!! Standing in the lllooonnnggg line at Starbucks each morning, I met some educators and connected with them. Standing in the lloonngg lines for sessions, I met a few more. Following #TCEA15 on Twitter allowed me to add to my PLN (Professional Learning Network) and connect with others. I was able to meet up with a few fellow GCISD people to discuss what we were learning during lunch and dinner. It was nice to bump in to a few presenters I am familiar with and hear their ideas. It was also nice to add to my list some presenters that I will follow and attend a session again. Check out and follow these presenters:
Meghan Zigmond @ZigZagsTech
Joan Gore @joangore
Janet Corder @corderj
Leslie Fisher @lesliefisher
Tammy Worcester @tammyworcester
Plus, I met Moby!! (if your class uses BrainPop or BrainPopJr, you KNOW Moby)

Collaborating - There are also opportunities to just sit and sort through all the information coming IN. You can walk through the Vendor Exhibit to check out new things. You can attend meetings to meet locals, Karaoke, After Dinner Social, and other events posted on Twitter (at Starbucks, etc) but my favorite was the Digital Square. It was a nice place to sit and recharge (mentally and also to plug in your devices) while soaking it all in. A friend suggested we volunteer and it was FUN! I was thrilled when we arrived that it was Makey Makey time!! Nothing like learning along side someone who wants to try it out, too. I met some people, showed my students and got to play, as well!

Attending a conference is an amazing opportunity to reach out beyond your classroom, campus and district bubble. While summer is often an educator's best season for professional development, I am excited that I can implement these new ideas in a few DAYS, instead of weeks or months. I hope I can take a few buddies with me next year. Interested in attending? Check out TCEA16! If 5 days doesn't work for you (I registered for the Premium sessions) go for just a few days. If traveling doesn't work for you, try local opportunities. TCEA has several throughout the year. You can learn of more conferences from your Region or searching for EdCamps. What better example for your children of being a life-long learner than attending meaningful meetings with amazing people. Whatever works for you, get out there and continue on your journey! #learnanywhere

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