Today was the CVCUE conference in Visalia. As always, Scott Smith did an amazing job of organizing and putting on the event. The whole day was full of high energy. Today emphasizes why CVCUE board members sacrifice so much of their time and talents for the organization. Teachers from around the valley were so grateful for the information shared at the conference. I heard from teacher after teacher how excited they were to take the information back to their classroom. It was overheard several times that some teachers felt their life had been changed due to the innovative ways they can approach teaching. The CUE table was mobbed at the end of the day with teachers wanting to sign up for CUE membership, thus validating the value they found in the organization and conference.
I had a blast today. Thank you to Otto Benavides for not only his leadership as president of CVCUE but for being an awesome friend. He kindly drove myself and my student volunteer to the event and demonstrated his selfless willingness to help out and encourage.
A big thank you to Anna Wells, 10th grader at ACEL charter high school, who got up at the crack of dawn to be in Visalia at 6am. She jumped right in and took initiative and made things happen. She manned the CUE registration table all day… ALL DAY and took every challenge on with a huge smile. She ended up being asked to not only sell the benefits of CUE and collecting registrations and money, but ended up having to collect the vendor cards and hand out raffle tickets and later was asked to collect the evaluations and hand out raffle tickets. On top of that she had to do all 3 tasks at the same time with a mob of educators at the end trying to turn in their papers and receive tickets. Not once did she complain. She helped clean up and then after putting in a full day of work, volunteered to type up the registrations and evaluations. Hands down, Anna Wells is the hardest working 10th grader around. I appreciate her dedication to the community and her passion and enthusiasm.
I thoroughly enjoyed my sessions today. Presenting 3 back to back sessions is really energizing when you have such great enthusiastic teachers in attendance. Will Kimbley is an amazing presenter and I feel honored to have been able to co-present with him for our #coffeecue session. We gave an intro to what #coffeecue is (http://cue.org/coffee) and then had a small #coffeecue session. We brought home baked chocolate chip cookies and shhh, we
stole borrowed an airpot of coffee from the caterer. Fun conversations about Google Docs and and Gmail, addressing problems teachers were having and collaborating together on solutions. I apologize to Will for having sat on and squishing his iPad. Luckily no damage 🙂
Class Dojo went over smashingly. Teachers were excited to see a tangible way to encourage positive student behavior that also helps students to develop intrinsic motivation. Fortunately or unfortunately Class Dojo is so simple to use we did not need the entire 50 minutes to go through how to use it. We had great collaboration time where we talked about best practices for using Class Dojo and shared enthusiasm for a desire to bring self awareness to students.
I was concerned about my 3rd session titled “Leadership Strategies and Motivation.” Due to space requirements the part of the description in the program that said it was about applying gaming principles to teaching was cut out. Nervously I shared my vision for teaching ANY class with a year long Dungeons and Dragons session with dice. While initial skepticism was evident, quickly I was able to win the participants over with enthusiasm for critical thinking, collaboration, leadership training and FUN. Education should be fun. We then talked about the ways video games motivate students and how we can apply concepts such as a low risk of failure, leveling, questing and achievements to the classroom. It was infectious how excited the participants were getting about the idea of rethinking the classroom model and truly having a deep desire to positively impact kids. Check out my blog on gaming: http://gamerriculum.com/blog
Truly an amazing and inspring day.