My second day of Nerdcamp began by completing the first Teachers Write mini-lesson outside the school. Tuesday early birds were able to pick from advanced reader copies of Cece Bell’s El Deafo or copies of Jonathan Auxier’s The Night Garderner or Tom Angleberger’s Qwikpick Papers.
Nerdcamp was amazing in its sheer geographic pull. If you look hard, you may spot pins on the map below that were marking the hometowns of our Nerdcampers. 20 different states were represented. We had elementary school teachers, middle school, high school and some university level instructors. There were teachers, librarians, volunteers and a few students.
At Nerdcamp, there are two idea-board sessions where campers can propose what they would like to learn about. Before we started brainstorming, Colby Sharp had some announcements for us, such as the book birthday of Comics Squad: Recess. We also had two special guests in the house: Babymouse and Arnie the Donut.
We had two morning sessions with 19 choices to pick from! It was hard to pass up the Best Books 2014 session, but I headed over to the Genius Hour session instead. I would love to implement some aspects of Genius Hour with my fifth grade library classes. People shared some management ideas for Genius Hours, such as projects cannot be easily Googleable. A great number of professional development books such as A Place for Wonder. A plug was also put in for #GeniusCon. What I enjoyed most about this session was that we were all circled up and numerous people shared both questions and answers.
The second session I attended was about teaching how to read graphic novels and picture books as well as how they can be complex. After this session, Adventures in Graphic went on my lengthy to read list. This text talks about how to use Graphic Novels to teach comprehension. I spent most of the following lunch time reading El Deafo.
During our afternoon idea board session planning, another 20 sessions were proposed. During the third session, I went to a session on using Google Drive at the elementary level. The new suggested edits feature in Google Drive is one I look forward to exploring for my teachers. Then came a session I proposed on Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) and writing clubs. Last year I had a small group of students from one homeroom participate in Nanowrimo. I would like to offer a better organized writing club for more students this year. Of course, I thought of a number of ways to make this session better after it was finished.
The day ended with a recap of the day where people could head to the microphone and share what they were taking away from this day of learning. Positive, enthusiastic messages were the norm. Several spoke of how wonderful it was to be around enthusiastic educators because their home teaching environments are not in a good place right now.
At the end of the closing session, the Nerd Crew (volunteers extraordinaire!) unveiled the dates for next year’s Nerd Camp. Join in this wonderful experience July 6th and 7th, 2015. Two goals I have for next year: participate in the Nerd Run and schedule better so I could stay and help out with Nerd Camp, Jr.
If you missed out on Nerdcamp, check out the notes from our different sessions. I hope to return to this learning extravaganza next year and hope more of you can join us as well!