Today we had our first professional development day modeled in the “edcamp-esque” like fashion.  Two weeks ago my curriculum team needed something for all Kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd, 4th grade and Special Education teachers to do on our November 5th professional development day.  Having gone to EdCamp Leadership this summer at Kean University, I thought I would take on this opportunity to create an exciting day of professional development for our teachers.  While we did not have an empty board (in the typical edcamp way) for teachers to select or offer what they want to share/teach, teachers had over 21 different learning opportunities over the three hours in the morning to choose from. The leaders of these sessions were teachers and administrators throughout our district and the sessions ranged from Twitter to PARCC assessments to anything GAFE related to apps like ShowMe and Storybird.  The feedback from teachers on our post edcamp survey has reminded me of why we led a professional day like this.  Teachers want choice in what and how they learn.  One size fits all is not the kind of instruction teachers are expected to deliver to teachers so why should professional development be any different?  All professionals in this field of education know and feel every day the “outside pressures” influencing, for good and bad, what and how we should be doing in the classroom. The opportunity to learn new tools to enhance student learning and improve instruction and share what we know works with our students is more than just refreshing but what I believe we need more of in education.  As I shared in my opening remarks with participants at #frsdedcamp, the only way we are going to deal with all the challenges facing us now is to collaborate, learn from, and share with one another.  We “don’t have enough time” anymore to do it all on our own.  I think for many participants today, the “aha” moment was realizing how tools like Twitter and Google Plus Communities can save us time, so we can be more creative in our lesson planning, assessments and instruction. I feel very fortunate to work in a district that was willing to allow this new model of professional development, edcamp, to be used to help us collaborate, learn from and share with one another.  I feel very fortunate to work in a district where so many teachers such as @patflavin1007, @dcook_diane, @4BetterEducatio, @MooreClassroom, @SethCharles321, @joeagabiti2013, @jborawski, @HennesyLab, @leaklein14, @Biancofrsd, @MissLucchetto, @ashleyegleason, @_kdeloren, @mrspirog, @servFRSD, @jpcasems so willingly “stepped up to the plate” to serve our district today.

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