I recently finished teaching at the University of Southern Maine. The course, Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age, is 3 credits packed into 1 week from 8 -4. It's a grueling schedule for the students, but I am always blown away by what they accomplish in a week's time.
This year's class was new and so it always takes awhile to get in to the flow. I like to tweak and make sure I am staying on their pace. I am forever rearranging the agenda because I want to make sure I try to meet everyone's needs. The days are usually structured so that we do an EdCafe in the morning, followed by some instruction, and then work time. The EdCafe is my favorite part. I learned about EdCafe by going to EdCamp Boston a few years ago. I assign 2 articles for reading. There are 2 leaders each day (this changes depending on the number in the class). They each choose a question, topic, or wonder based on the reading and then ask others to join them in a conversation. The conversations take place for about 20 minutes. Then it's back to the classroom for a "Brain Dump". Each student has a document that's assigned in Google Classroom. They write for 20 quiet minutes about what they've learned during the EdCafe and how it relates to their teaching. Later, the Brain Dumps get shared and classmates can comment on each others ideas. It's powerful learning and process time and it makes me realize how little teachers get to do it. One student wrote in her evaluation "I loved all of the examples that were shared and the discussions that we had. Its rare that educators have the time to discuss as much as we did this week. There were lots of opportunities to ask questions and share ideas." What would our school look like if we had more reflection time built in?
I have lots of ideas for next year. It's so exciting to see what teachers create! Thanks to the wonderful class of learners!