On a Wednesday in August, I sent an email to Katherine, Kenny, and Kimberly sharing my crazy idea about putting on an edcamp in Asheville. Although I’m sure they thought I was crazy, they agreed to the idea of helping me bring edcamp to Asheville. After a ton of work, emails, and texts that dream came true on April 22nd!
Our first edcampAVL was a success! Even though it started with me freaking out at the Dunkin Donuts at 6:00am, everything else went smoothly! We held our edcamp at the new Asheville Middle School which was the perfect location for innovative conversations, shared ideas, and love for learning. Everywhere we looked there was moveable furniture, rooms set up for conversations, and these amazing signs all over the hallways created by kids for the world. With a location this amazing it was no wonder that the edcamp was a success!
We started the morning with a quick shout out from all of the Asheville schools, teachers from across North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Kentucky. This was the first edcamp that I have been to with so many amazing teachers from so many different states! I quickly realized that such diverse backgrounds brought such in depth conversations.
After a brief overview of what to expect at an edcamp we quickly started on our session board. I was pleasantly surprised about the sessions that were suggested: Meditation in the Classroom, Culturally Responsive Teaching, and using Social Media as Professional Development just to name a few. Many of our sessions I have not seen on sessions board before and I was proud to see the focus of the teachers in the room.
Once the first session started, any lingering fear I still had quickly dispersed. The minute teachers walked into rooms they started introducing themselves, sharing ideas, and asking questions. It almost brought tears to my eyes to hear the buzzing hum of conversations that were seeping out of every room I walked by. I only wish everyone could feel the passion that was in the air!
I had a chance to sit in on a couple of the morning sessions and I learned a ton! Tech tools, tips when teaching students about mindfulness and meditation, MakerSpace ideas, more about coding and so much more! I was desperately trying to keep up with it all and realized how important our Collaborative Session Notes are!
After the first three sessions we had an amazing lunch and teachers explored the MakerSpace set up and photo booth! Here is a picture of the teachers from my school in the photo booth! I was stoked we had so many attend! Many of the teachers who attended from Hall Fletcher are a part of our Digital Learning Innovation Team. It was awesome to see the enthusiasm for teaching that they all have! They are rockstar teachers!
During our final session of the day Katherine, Kimberly, Kenny, and I (why am I not a K name?) cleaned up and reorganized the cafeteria for the Smack Down and Door Prizes. If you have never been to a Smack Down before you are missing out! This is when edcamp participants take turns coming up to the screen and sharing a tool, website, or app. You have 1 minute to share and explain how it can be used and then the next person goes. It is extremely fast paced and fun! I always learn a ton!
Thanks to our amazing sponsors everyone was able to walk away with a door prize (some even 2 or 3!) which put a huge smile on everyone’s faces! What’s better then going to a PD where you are able to choose what you learn, you can leave a room if you aren’t getting anything out of it, free food, AND free door prizes?!? I can’t think of much!
Just seeing the huge smiles on all of the teachers’ faces as they were leaving, made my heart full! This crazy idea we came up with over a year ago was a success! Teachers were treated like professionals, a ton of learning went on, everyone was able to bring something back to their students on Monday, and it was fun! Part of my couldn’t believe it had worked and part of me had no doubt that would. Because when you put amazing teachers together in a room on a Saturday, amazing things happen!