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SEK Ed Camp benefits teachers and districts

Posted Date: 01/28/2019

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This year’s Ed Camp at Chanute High School attracted more educators than ever before and reportedly flowed Teachers figure out games for the classroomsmoother than all prior conferences run by Chanute Public Schools.

Almost 500 Southeast Kansas teachers, counselors, staff and administrators attended the day-long camp Monday at CHS where they learned from each other through presentations and group discussions.

“I believe the strength of the conference is that teachers are able to self-direct and choose the learning that benefits them most,” said Assistant Superintendent Kent Wire, who orchestrated the event. “We offered over 130 sessions from which each teacher teachers learn fun with ukaleleschose five.”

Instead of bringing in a guest speaker to address an entire school population, the Ed Camp participants are also its speakers, with the background and experience to address topics that appeal to PE teachers, elementary, fine arts, those needing tips on behavior management in the classroom and more.

Among the most popular this year was the session called Google Gems, a hands-on session to give teachers the tools to engage students’ productivity, creativity, collaboration and communication.

“Keep the tech stuff coming!” wrote one teacher. “I usually get the most from those kinds of sessions.”

“This was my first year for this and I was totally impressed …lots of sessions to choose from that would be useful for anyone,” said another.

Topics ran the gamut from suicide prevention to standards based grading and grade cards, brains in pain, reading tidbits, career cruising and live streaming.

“Standards based grading … was informative but the ukulele was so fun and enjoyable. A great addition,” someone wrote.

“I am always encouraged at the talent and skills of the teachers who attend our event,” Wire said. “Perhaps even more so the willingness of so many to host or present sessions showcasing what they do in class.  Southeast Kansas kids are very fortunate to have such dedicated and caring teachers,” Wire said.

There was very little sitting in the Ballistic Brain Blast session offered by Jim Schoenberger and Teri Lund. The middle school history teacher and physical education teacher showed the research behind giving students brain breaks during class.

“If your bum is numb then so is your brain,” Lund told the teachers. “After 17 minutes of sitting, your brain goes into hibernation.”

Teachers stood up and participated in several simple activities to “wake up students’ brains” get them moving and then back to work at their desks, all in a few minutes.

It does take a little time out of the class period, Lund said, but the quality of work the students produce after a brain break is much more efficient than plugging away until the end of the hour with students whose attention is not on the subject.

Despite the extra work to offer the professional development opportunity, Wire believes it’s a worthwhile event.

“Multiple teachers from every district comment every year that it's the best professional development they receive,” he said. “Developing and retaining teachers is of premier importance to all school districts. It's imperative to meet the need.”