When noon came on Thursday, it didn’t take long to get over the fact that our Admin Unplugged session was in the immense Grand Ballroom B. Participants trickled in and began to write session topics (or vote for others) on the easels at the entrance.
After about 10 minutes, Liz facilitated an icebreaker so participates could meet and introduce themselves to three different people. While that was happening, Justine and I were tallying the votes and setting up the 5 different discussion tables.
The of topics of Scheduling, Teacher Evaluation, Head of School relationship with Admin Teams, Open Gradebooks, and Leadership Training were announced. We explained that attendees would choose one of the tables and have a 20-minute discussion surrounding that topic. It wasn’t long before everyone was seated and the conversations were off and running. At the end of 20 minutes, participants could choose another table and have a conversation surrounding a different topic or stay at the table and continue with the discussion.
The hour flew by, and participants seemed comfortable sharing their knowledge and passions with each other. Choice is a good thing!
My 8am session on Thursday morning was “Why Should More Parents Value Your School?” Some great advice here from Richard Hardy from Concord Academy and Ben Edwards from The Art & Science Group.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.“
“Don’t take on research until you are ready to be: 1) introspective and 2) act on the results.”
Here are my tweets:
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My first session at NAIS 2015 was a 3-hour workshop entitled: “Playgrounds, Parents and Programs- Oh My! The Work of the Division Head.” It was engaging, relevant, and very informative.
Following an amazing presentation from three division heads at three different schools, the session included a “critical friends group” exercise used to unpack a challenging dilemma at our school. We were paired up and went through the process of pre-reflection, framing the dilemma, clarifying the dilemma, probing and discussing, making recommendations, and then reflecting on it. It was useful to have a peer listen, process, and then give feedback on something that was challenging for me. It was a great start to the conference!
Here are my public notes (tweets) and reflections on the session:
Each year, the CAIS Academic Technology Retreat never disappoints. It’s filled with amazing, thoughtful, forward-thinking educators who debate, discuss and explore ways in which they can improve and enhance the learning experiences for their students. This year, our Keynote was Don Buckley. His topic was “Design and Maker Thinking.” Don is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Tools at Schools. The focus of his presentation was to investigate the teaching and learning of design and maker thinking in schools. We thoroughly enjoyed his animated and engaging presentation and I, personally, loved his break-out session where we were challenged to design a wearable technology that would change the student learning experience as we know it.
Here are my tweets from my time at the retreat. (I needed to leave early due to commitments back at school.)
Here is a link to other tweets from the event.
Here is a link to our “App Smackdown.” Feel free to add your favorite tool/app to it!
This tweet by Rush Hambleton is, by far, one of the most powerful things about this retreat, and one of the many reasons it’s not to be missed each year. Thanks for another awesome, awesome learning experience!
Here are some additional photos from the event.
The official opening of NAISAC14 was filled with excitement and energy. John Chubb’s first remarks as President were critically analyzed by everyone in the room. I was impressed with his tone and enthusiasm and liked what he had to say. And while I felt Lyn Heward’s (COO and Creative Content Division Director for Cirque du Soleil) talk went on a bit too long, she offered some inspiring words on creativity and risk-taking. Both helped set the tone for the conference opening. I was a little disappointed, given the theme was “Dare to Explore and Discover” and we were so close to the Kennedy Space Center, that an inspiring talk from an astronaut was not on the opening agenda.
Here are my notes:
Although I couldn’t stay for this entire session because I needed to set up for my presentation, Alex’s talk was intriguing and I didn’t want to leave. His book is now on my “to read” list. Being that I consider myself a self-proclaimed “multi-tasker,” I really had a lot to listen to. I also admit that, since this session, I am more aware of the fact that I do hold my breath when my email is loading… and I know that I look at my phone more than 150 times a day. #beinghonest
Here are my tweets from this session:
Session leaders Jenni Swanson Voorhees, Chris Bigenho, Jill Brown, Liz Davis, Sophie Halliday and Linda Swarlis led us in an amazing conversation where WE got to choose the topics!
“Connect with colleagues and join innovative conversations in this new participant-driven session for teachers. Based on the “unconference” format, this session offers you the opportunity to drive discussion topics, share knowledge and passions, and find solutions to problems. Learn from colleagues and share your expertise with others. After a fun introduction to the open session format, join conversations on topics that you choose.”
The round table discussion I was involved in was entitled: “How to stop doing what we know we should not be doing.” I have very few tweets from this session because it was hard to tweet, talk. and listen at the same time. I didn’t want to miss anything that anyone in this circle was saying! We were all noting that we wished that there were more sessions of this type throughout the conference– as opposed to a “sage on the stage” model. Our own professional development should model what we want our classroom to look like!
My favorite tweet is the first one in this list! As a new person to the Lower School world, I couldn’t agree with it more!