Why EdCampCIVa

Why EdCampCIVa

In case you are on the fence, some previous attendees have written posts about why you should attend EdCampCIVa!  First up is Allison Gray.  You can also find out more about Allison on her blog as well.

Hello! My name is Allison Gray, I teach elementary Spanish and I’ll be attending EdCampCIVa for the third time this year. I’m so excited about it that I wanted to share my story with you. I hope it convinces you (not that I feel you should need convincing) to go with me.

Let me take you back two years, to April of 2018. I had been teaching at the same schools for nine years (I’m a traveling teacher) and was told that I was being pulled from my schools to become the new Spanish teacher to one (of two) magnet programs. That was no big deal, until I talked to the teacher of the other program, with whom I was expected to align myself. She had all these crazy ideas, she wanted to use chapter books to teach, she wanted to use songs (I was in on the kid’s songs, but Sr. Wooly – that’s a weird name), and she wanted to ditch our textbook. I chose to willingly, yet blindly follow her into her rabbit hole and began doing research into this thing called CI. To start my journey, she told me about this conference she was thinking of going to called EdCamp.

I was lucky because I had participated in Matt Miller’s Ditch That Textbook Online Conference that winter for the first time, and that research had led me to websites like those of Brett Chonko and Maris Hawkins. (As an aside, I was completely unprepared to walk in and see Mr. Brett Chonko of all sorts of internet fame, that I couldn’t even talk normally to him.) Thank goodness there was a set beginner track to the day, which was so complete that I didn’t have to think about anything more than how to untwist the coffee carafe with my broken wrist. I learned so much that day that I was thrilled to have a five-hour drive home that night because I needed all that time to process everything that I had learned before having to interact with people again. I come from the Roanoke Valley, so Chesapeake isn’t exactly close, but I was desperate for training, and seriously, I got what I needed.

The following year I tried out so many of the things that I had learned with my new groups of magnet program. Thank goodness I had all these tricks up my sleeve, because these kids needed something so different from what our book had provided that I’m not sure how their last teacher had made the progress she had with them. They were unwilling to have their creativity stifled, and CI called for more and more and more of their thoughts and their lives that we had an amazing year. I decided that I needed more amazing years and went back to EdCampCIVa again last year, and I’ll go again this year.

Honestly, making the choice to go is huge for me. I teach summer school too, so I am driving across all of Virginia after teaching all day, then taking leave without pay. Those aren’t things I do lightly. Truthfully, I have learned so much at this conference and through the connections I’ve made that it is worth the cost of the lost pay, and extensive travel. Additionally, even with those associated costs, it’s still a huge value for the money. I guarantee that whether or not you attend both days, you will get a huge value for your invested time as well. Can’t wait to see you there!

To sign up, follow this link!

Guest post by Knikki Hernandez

Knikki Hernandez sent this email out to everyone who attended her session, but it is an awesome list of how she transitioned to CI.  She mentions some of the same resources from our post, but she also adds some of her own.  Thank you SO much for contributing this!

When I first started with CI, I purchased Jalen Waltman’s lesson plans for the textbook series Exprésate. Here is the link to her website:
I’ve attached other resources that you can use to learn more about TPRS/CI. If you’d like to start with some visuals to see what this looks like I recommend that you start with youtube and do a search on tprs/ci. There are a ton of teachers who share their lessons. I will be posting more videos on my youtube channel where you can see all of my lessons, as well. As you know, I also like to focus on classroom management, so this coming year there will be short videos with proactive and reactive moves to handle various situations. I would suggest that you subscribe to all youtube channels that you feel could benefit your practice.
Secondly, I’ve attached my thesis to this email, which is about TPRS/CI & classroom management. The paper will give you an inside look at how teachers maintain order in their classroom using this method. There are also video demonstrations and analysis all throughout. Please have a look and let me know your thoughts, critique, questions, etc.
Third, you can throw a rock and hit about 1,000 different TPRS/CI blogs. Some of my favorites are posted below. The “TPRS for Chinese” one is particularly good. Even though it’s Chinese, you’ll be able to benefit from her analysis and lessons as she breaks everything down to meet your specific needs. Sarah Breckley’s is relatively new, but it’s excellent, as well.
As far as books, if I had to start all over again, I would buy Ben Slavic’s “The Natural Approach” & the “Big Book of CI”. You can start wherever you like, though. I first purchased the book series “Look! I can talk!” because I needed lesson plans, and it just seemed like a good place to start at the time. I had also just met Blaine Ray’s son, Von Ray, and they were selling them.
Lastly, I’ve learned a ton about this method and purchased some additional resources through social media. Great teachers are always posting their products (some free!) on twitter and facebook, and this has helped me tremendously. I recommend that you first join the facebook group below. Everyone is great!
With regards to twitter, I recommend that you create one for PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY. This way, you can follow other educators and organizations that can help you grow in your career. (NOTE: I do not follow students, post homework assignments, or communicate with parents through twitter. This is strictly for my own professional growth.) Also, if you’re like me, I was totally opposed to creating a twitter at first, but something clicked, and I started to see it as an opportunity to build my professional network and learn from amazing educators. At that point, I realized that it’s not just another social media outlet to keep up with; it’s an entire network that I can personalize to my own needs. Since then, I’ve met educators from all over the country, some even international, and connected with school districts.
NOTE: My core social media belief is this: Have one social media for family/friends, one for students/parents, and one for your professional development.
Lastly, thank you all for taking time out of your schedules to learn about this new methodology. It can feel like an overwhelming and daunting task to learn a completely new methodology (and even I am relatively new to it) but if you ever have any questions, please feel free to reach out anytime at Knikki Hernandez on facebook, or @teacherknikki on twitter.
(My youtube channel – feel free to subscribe) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBw3Q2hFhkFO-imt2bMlTog?


Social Media
Facebook – iFLT/ NTPRS/ CI Teaching
Twitter (People to follow):

CI Resources for further ideas

Thank you SO much to everyone who attended!  We are so excited that EdCampCIVa keeps growing, and we are already planning for another one next year!  As promised, here is the document with the resources, so you can continue your growth.  Feel free to also reach out to Lynne or Maris if you have any questions, want advice or need a cheerleader in your corner.