Skip to main content

EdCamp Elmbrook: Help Wanted

An article I read on Edutopia motivated me to take the first step into something I’d been considering for a year now.  That is organizing an edcamp at my school in the Elmbrook School District.  This blog post is basically an attempt to ask others in my district (or anyone else in my area) if they would be interested in being a part of this effort in some way shape or form.

First off, if you are not sure what an edcamp is it is a free one day conference.  It is organized and run by educators for educators. I say educators but they’re usually open to any stakeholder who wants to register.  There is no set agenda before the day of simply a schedule divided into hour blocks for sessions to take place. At the start of the day, attendees pitch ideas for sessions which create the agenda for the day.   The idea is there are a number of sessions going on at any one time and participants are free to move to a session of their choice without any sort of pre registration. In the simplest of terms, it has been often called and “unConference”.

I’ve been attending edcamps across the area for the past 4 years.  I’ve grown from them in terms of pedagogy and PLN connection so much, I would not be the same teacher without them. My favorite was edcampMKE and 2015 was its last year leaving a void in my PD.  I’m hoping to try to start one for our area.

My hope is to try to organize this event to be put on in 2017 on a Saturday at Brookfield Central High School. This timing may change one we actually start planning, but I think I’d be nice to have the lead time to do it right.

I imagine there are a many levels of involvement if you wanted to help organize. From major organizers who would be involved in the planning and carrying out of the event down to people who would be willing to just volunteer on the day to help with set-up or check-in attendees on the day. Even committing to attend the event as a participant would be great.

In terms of major strands of organization, I got in touch with the organizers of edcamp MKE and they highlighted the the main areas they focused on. These roles could be combined as well.  
  1. Organization - overall plan of attack
  2. Communication - website and promotion
  3. Food - finding sponsors to supply food for breakfast (usually pastries) and lunch
  4. Location - securing facility, rooms, equipment
  5. Sponsorship/Raffle - getting businesses to help with funding and provide prizes for end of the day raffle

It would be my dream to get educators interested in helping from across the district (or outside the district if you want in).

We have so many in our district with a wide range of skills and connections that could help make this event a success. You do not have to have any prior experience with an edcamp to play a role in our event. I hope to put together an email list of those interested and once school gets rolling, you can decide if this is something you’d be interested in becoming a part of. The commitment is as much as you want it to be. Or, just show up when we announce the date to get the edcamp experience (you'll get personal learning points).

If you are interested in learning more about being a part of the process or have questions/ideas, please let me know by commenting to this post or emailing me at

Popular posts from this blog

Waves of Innovation in Elmbrook Part 1

As a part of a graduate project, I am looking at innovations in education within my school district, Elmbrook Schools. I am specifically focusing on those looking to provide learners with more ownership over their own learning (a.k.a. personalizing learning). I've completed 4 interviews so far.  I had no intention of sharing them via this blog.  But, I think the stories and insights of these educators really are important for all.  They were vulnerable in a way that shows their passion for what they are undertaking.  They want the best for all learners not simply students, but educators who may hear their words.  So, please take the time to listen to their stories.  

In this video, Jeff Ortman a teacher in his 22nd year, discusses implementing strategies to give students ownership of their learning in his high school English classroom.  He discusses why he wanted to change his learning environment, his first steps to bring change, how choice and feedback are key to his classroom, a…

Can I Believe These Numbers?

Our union put out the results of a recent district survey.  The number of those who responded to the survey was low in comparison to the total number of certified staff. But the number and comments related to personalized learning struck me as troubling.

Based on this data, over half of the district staff polled are not onboard with the district's vision for personalized learning.  I would argue that not knowing the district vision for personalized learning is synonymous with not understanding what personalized learning is. The mission of the Elmbrook School Districtto inspire every student to think, to learn and to succeed.  By personalizing learning, we hope to achieve that mission.
I begin to question have we put the phrase before the meaning?  Have we thrown out this word without intention?  Have we made it to much of another thing to do rather than a method to achieve our shared vision.
These numbers shake me to the core.  After the recent presidential election, I realized I was…

How to Personalize Learning Part 3: Knowing How a Classroom Learns

Now, it may seem contradictory to state that teachers should create a classroom learner toolkit.  All individuals in our class have their own profile. We can’t simply design on blanket profile for the class.  That is very true.  That’s why Bray and McClaskey take a different approach to what a classroom learning toolkit looks like.  It is a 3-step process Class Learning Snapshot Preferences and Needs Class Learning Toolkit

Class Learning Snapshot In this model of designing tools for a whole classroom, the authors first recommend the teacher identify 4 learners who are diverse.  The Class Learning Snapshot records the specific strengths, talents, interests, and challenges of those four learners. If a teacher could meet the needs of these diverse learners through UDL, the needs of the other students in the class would probably be met.

Student Strengths, Talents, and Interests Challenges 1 It's easier for me to understand content when I am taught by a teacher and then am able to get informati…