100 Cups of Coffee: The Year-Long Conference

cupsofcoffeeI can’t remember where I was introduced to the concept of 100 Cups of Coffee, but it may have been The $100 Startup book.  All I know is that the concept of meeting with many people to discuss ideas and thinking around a particular field rocks. 100 cups of coffee is simply meeting one hundred people for coffee. It’s like an extended education conference that can last the whole year long for considerably less than a plane ticket, hotel, and conference fee. Not only that, but it can be personalized to your current learning needs. Tom Whitby recently posted about the relevancy of education conferences, and there has been amazing discussion on Twitter about the topic. It reminded me that the individuals I met and the discussions we had are what made EduCon 2.4 an amazing conference experience.

I know some are tired of the conference bandwagon…. maybe it’s time to make your own conversations? To buy 100 cups of coffee? To find the interesting people and learn from them like Chris Fancher mentioned this morning:

Conferences are a great starting point for conversations. Twitter can also be a starting point… the whole reason I met Chris at #educon was from his tweets inviting people to join him for dinner prior to the conference. Pick your starting point… then start.

As I learn about academic advising in order to better meet the needs of my personalized learning students at E3, I find the need to start those conversations. I am beginning locally through some traditional networking, but plan to meet over coffee with others via Skype or FaceTime. I can even email a Starbucks card to pay for the coffee. Voila!

You can too.

(And if you are an #acadv professional bridging the high school to college gap, please contact me or comment below. I’d love to talk with you.)


PBL, Intro

One of the things I have been wrestling with is the concept of Project Based Learning.  This weekend at Educon 2.4, I realized that I just needed to jump in and do it. Letting go of the fear and the doubts, and trusting in the process of student centered learning.

So, today we started out by looking at what fills our normal school day. In Gary Stager’s session on “Constructionism from Top to Bottom”, I was confronted with a classroom schedule that, although different in construction, in essence included separate blocks for literacy and math… and was not that disparate from my own.  And I 100% CHOOSE mine! ACK!  Between that session and the one on “Tradition and Innovation” by Lisa Thumann and Liz Davis, my path for this week was pretty well set. ((Both sessions are linked and archived… well worth watching!))

Borrowing from Lisa and Liz, my students participated in their very own version of “Dig It” or “Ditch It”.  They listed out everything we do in a typical school week, and then were able to line up on ‘sides’ and give their reasons for keeping or getting rid of a certain aspect of our classroom.  I was surprised at some of their choices, and they were very fair and accurate in their discussion.

In the end, we decided to ditch quite a bit of what we do… which terrifies me in some respects.  However, I am willing to ‘go with the flow’ and see these coming months as an educational experiment.

If today is anything to do go on, I think it will be a raving success.  (See PBL, Day1)

Educator Bucket List

[Part 2 of 3 in an attempt to create a meaningful essay response to the Friends’ School. “What would you hope to gain from your internship?”]

During my intern year, I’d like to scratch some things off my educator bucket list.  Or at least begin to explore them. I’ve recently started this list as a way to flesh out my self-directed learning goals.  I feel these make me the kind of teacher I want for my own children.  Although not all of them are quantifiable, nor even achievable during the intern year, I believe they are the best representation of what I *will* gain during my internship… because I am actively seeking these things. In no particular order, the first 10 items on my educator bucket list:

  1. Build and maintain relationships with mentor teachers throughout the world who will broaden my horizons and stretch my worldview.
  2. Understand  multiple intelligences and use them to personalize student learning opportunities.
  3. Attend EduCon 2.4 in person (January 2012).
  4. Manage a student directed classroom while still meeting state standards.  (I really think it can be done…. I’m just not sure how yet!)
  5. Visit Mitch Squires’ class and school…. in Sydney, Australia.
  6. Lose my preconceived notions about what learning should look like, and learn instead to observe students in the act of learning.
  7. Equip children to relate to other people as global citizens, with respect for personal differences and understanding of cultural differences.
  8. Spend a week at Reggio Emilia attending their week-long workshop.
  9. Create a classroom community that is supportive, respectful, energetic, and joyful.
  10. Obtain my Initial Colorado Teaching License.

More items to come.  I have added a page to this blog with my ‘bucket list’ items, where I can grow them, change them, and cross them off. ((Here we go again with that paper thing…. but I still think I need it.  Bottom line, I want the respect that comes with it. However shallow that makes me. 🙂 I find it more than a little amusing that WordPress keeps cutting the number 1 off of the “10”, leaving that item at number “0”.))

Do you have an educator bucket list?  If not, would you like to start one with me? If you do, please share a link to yours in the comment section .