Oh my goodness!!! So much learning and fun at the same time!!! Yes . . . lots of exclamation marks. Let’s get to it.
I really wanted to go to the Wednesday night kickoff. But something much more important was happening at home. Three of my students were in our county Spelling Bee, two current and one previous student. It was the fourth time for one of them. He came in second several years in a row. His mom told me once, “Always the bridesmaid.” This year . . . he won!!! He’s heading to the National Scripps Spelling Bee in Washington DC. I am so proud of this exceptional student. He’s going to have a phenomenal experience in DC.
Honestly, I don’t even know where to start. The CUE National Conference was amazing. Three colleagues and I took the trip together. We only live about two hours away, so we’re very familiar with Palm Springs. We loved every minute: the keynotes, workshop sessions, vendors, real life meetups, street fair, and local food. Since there is so much to write about, I’ll choose my top 3.
Let me tell you a funny story first. On Thursday afternoon, my friends, Virginia and Jesus, and I were sitting on the floor having lunch in a hallway. We’re eating, talking, and watching people walk past. I tap Jesus on the shoulder and say, “Is that George?” He doesn’t know. So, I call out, “Hey, George!” Yep, it was George. He walks over, I get up, and give him a big hug. I tell him that I know him from Twitter, give him my handle, and he nods. I introduce him to my friends and we chat for a bit. Let me tell you, he’s one of the nicest, humblest, and most down to earth people I know.
Back to the keynote. George spoke at 8 AM on Friday morning. He had a packed house. His presentation included photos, videos, inspirational stories, and calls to action. There were several points that resonated with me.
1. “We will never innovate if we focus on compliance.” I seriously wanted to stand up and applaud when he said this. I have a hashtag, #ComplianceIsNotCreative. I want my students and myself to be creative, innovative thinkers. I understand that we work in a system that has parameters. But within those parameters, I want my students to have their own voice, make their own decisions, and go beyond the “adopted” curriculum. For myself, I want to provide engaging, scholarly experiences for and with my students. If we remain in a state of compliance, our minds are not free to percolate, create, and innovate.
2. “Make the positive so loud you drown the negative.” George shared with us that we need to be champions of our schools and students. There is so much good going on, we need to share it. Share it with our colleagues, share it with our parents, share it with a global audience (Twitter). I have another saying, “Positivity is a choice.” Every day, we have a choice. #ChoosePositive
3. “Collaboration is key.” As 21st century educators, our best successes will come if we collaborate. There’s a saying, “The smartest person in the room is the room itself.” Back in the day, teaching was a solitary practice. Today, we know that the greatest learning comes when we collaborate. We can collaborate within our site, in our local PLCs, or by building our online PLN. If we are to become innovative, transformational leaders, we must engage with the world around us. #2CollaborateIs2Innovate
When I go to a workshop or conference, I always want to go away with one new thing to try immediately. My “OneNewThing", at CUE17, was peer feedback using Google Forms. Mari Venturino presented a session called “Trans-Form-Ative Assessments”. Here’s the link to her presentation. Mari shared with us how she has her students review presentations using an online rubric. My students had just finished their Shark Tank commercials. Their @WeVideo presentations were perfect to try out the peer evaluations. In their collaborative Shark Tank groups, students evaluated each other’s videos. The level of collaborative discussion was off the charts. They took their role of evaluators very seriously. As a follow-up, I individually showed the groups their results and had them orally share what they learned from the data collected. The reflective process of completing the rubric and self-accessing the results was extremely powerful.
One quick comment about Mari. My friend Jesus and I are in a blogging group lead by Mari, the #SunChatBloggers. It was a lot of fun meeting up with her IRL. Also . . . she won the CUE Emerging Teacher of the Year award. YEAH, Mari!!!
I’m a very social person. I love meeting and talking to people. Ahhh, another saying . . . “Everyone has a story.” It was great to spend my first CUE experience with my three closest colleagues. Virginia, Susie, Traci, and I were perfect conference companions. Even though we had an ebb and flow during the conference, we all came back with one key instructional practice we want to try . . . sketchnotes. I can’t wait to see what our students create. It was also quite an experience watching our friend, Jesus, present his “LeRoy’s Big Idea”. He didn’t win, but we were so proud of him anyway!!! What an honor to be on stage with leading educators. Additionally, our very own, Tony Romayor, presented two sessions of WeVideo. #TonyRocks! Our county has recently been approved as a CUE affiliate. Our president, Lucio Padilla, hosted a meet-up. (Thank you, Tony, for providing the venue.) About 20 educators from the Imperial Valley gathered to connect, brainstorm, and socialize. What an exciting time for #IVCUE!
Our time at #CUE17 is done, but the learning and memories will live on.
Eagerly anticipating #CUE18,
Marilyn . . .
PS: If you write your own #CUE17 blog, please tag it on Twitter with #CUE17Blog or tag me in it.