Are you my friend? #EdCampDSM

Saturday started like a regular school day for me. I awoke at 5:00 AM and got ready. But instead of going to school, I drove 2 hours to a grade school in Clive, Iowa for #EdCampDSM. It was a great day! I love EdCamps. This was my 8th EdCamp since attending my first EdCamp in Omaha in March, 2010. EdCamps give me a great boost in the ole’ teaching arm! I love connecting with my fellow teachers. I work with a great bunch of teachers, but we are all so busy and somedays I feel like I’m just coming up for air at 3:10. It’s great to take a day off to share ideas with other educators. Each EdCamp is different. The EdCamp I attended in Des Moines has proven to be one of my favorites. Maybe I liked it because I was able to meet up with some of my favorite educators. I loved visiting with Josh, Brent, Toby, and Barbara. Or maybe I liked it because I had a chance to talk about my favorite new book on education, Teach Like a Pirate. Or maybe I liked it because I got to talk and use tech.

There were 7 rooms set aside for our sessions. Here is the schedule that we ended up with. Screen shot 2013-09-30 at 6.58.48 AM   It originally started on a sheet of paper. IMG_0885Looking at the first hour of sessions, I was torn. So many great topics and Josh, Brent, and Toby all were presenting at the same time. I decided to attend the Twitter 101 session even though I’m not a Twitter newbie. I’m a Twitter early adaptor. I started on May 1, 2007. I joined Toby and about 10 other teachers to share the wonderful professional tool of Twitter. Here is where my blog post title comes in.

Before the session started, I asked around to those who were already on Twitter. “Are you my friend?” was the question I asked Ben. Toby and Ben laughed. They thought I sounded like the new Delilah. When I record my next #CatholicEdChat AudioBoo, I’ll be sure I sound like her.

This was a great session, or as EdCampers like to say, a conversation. Toby adjusted the session to what his students needed. We had a good laugh when we looked at the #duckface and #fishlip pictures. I also shared how I use Twitter in my classroom with my class Twitter account.

My next session was on Tech Integration with a sub title, “They Gave the kids iPads…now what.” This was the perfect session for me. We will be rolling out a brand new iPad cart at my school. Here are the notes that the session members took on a Google Doc. I shared these notes with my co-workers on Monday.

Next up was lunch and we were given a generous amount of time for a nice lunch break. I knew I’d want to catch up with Barbara. She’s a 4th grade teacher in West Des Moines and we just hit it off at our first EdCamp in 2010. She also participated in a Thanksgiving collaborative online project I hosted for several years. The PD continued over lunch. I grilled Barbara on her latest classroom ideas and learned about her newsbreak for non-fiction reading she started and her procedures for the student’s Response Journals. We were having so much fun, we got back to the edcamp late! I thought it started back up at 1:15. Oh well!

When we returned we checked out the ever popular edcamp session, “Things that Rock and Sucks in Education” This session was hosted by one of the organizers of EdCampDSM Jaime. But we decided to move on to another session. That’s another trademark of an edcamp, vote with your feet. If a session is not what you wanted or needed, just move on and check out another session. We both ended up in the “Less Us, More Them” session. It was a very interesting session with a real live student! Yes, students can come to edcamps. This young man shared how he feels more engaged in his classroom when he has technology. Several participants also shared some ideas using technology. One math teacher has his students use educreations to work out a math problem and send it to the teacher. He also had his students show a ray in Minecraft. He said that homework was emailed in quickly that night. His students couldn’t wait to complete it! A brief discussion of Augmented Reality came up and I tweeted out this website. Drew and Brad are new to Twitter but they are making up for lost time. Their website is fantastic and they just launched a podcast.

Finally, it was time for the last session. Boy this day went fast! Of course I had to attend a session to discuss my new favorite educational book, Teach Like a Pirate.


#tlap #argh

#tlap #argh

I read this book in June but only had an online Twitter discussion on my thoughts. I really enjoyed connecting with other educators and learning what they took away from this book. I’m going to ‘pirate’ an idea that a teacher shared. He had his students write their goals for the year outside their classroom with sidewalk chalk. What a great idea! I had my student write paper tweets, but I like this more public way of sharing goals.

The last part of a great edcamp is the prizes. The organizers were able to score many wonderful prizes, but guess what? I didn’t win any of them! But I do have another edcamp coming up. I’m going to EdCampCentralNE on October 12. Maybe you can join me in Grand Island, Nebraska! Maybe I’ll win a prize this time!IMG_0890


  1. […] Are you my friend?  #EdcampDSM by Barb Gilman (@BarbInNebraska) […]

join the conversation