Saturday, December 5, 2015

Edcamp with Students - Finally!

This Friday the middle school students at Synapse School (where I am the Assistant Head of School), participated in their first student lead #Edcamp. I have been trying to get an Edcamp for kids going at my schools since I discovered how empowering participant driven learning experiences can be eight years ago. It took my amazing colleagues at Synapse to bring it to life. And I actually had very little to do with it.

Abby facilitating a session on Women's Rights
Why
Every year Synapse chooses a Changemaker to focus on for the year. This year our Changemaker is Benjamin Franklin. It turns out that Benjamin Franklin formed his own Edcamp style group that met weekly to discuss different topics. He called them Juntos. Using that as a connection, students considered the topics they would like to discuss and our own #EdcampJunto was formed.

“At age 21, with his printing business established in Philadelphia and his circle of friends expanding, Benjamin Franklin formed a weekly discussion group with twelve men who shared his drive for learning and conversation. Named the Junto (derived from the Spanish to join), the club met every Friday evening in a tavern or house to discuss ‘Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy [science].’” -National Humanities Center Resource Toolbox

How
My colleagues Federico Chialvo @federicochialvo, Katie Morgan @fxluvr and Stephanie Seto, @shsetos really took the lead on making this happen. Stephanie put together an excellent lesson plan that steps through the entire process.

Here are the highlights.
  • We introduced the concept of Juntos to students in a whole school meeting and then invited them to propose topics that they would like to discuss. 
  • Using a simple Google Form, students proposed topics and then indicated if they would be willing to facilitate that session.
  • Once we gathered all of the topics, we created a Google Form for students to vote on the topics that they would be most interested in talking about. 
  • Then Stephanie put together a schedule of the most popular topics. We divided the schedule into four 20 minute sessions. We also decided to keep the popular sessions on the schedule that didn't have facilitators and allow the kids in the room to figure out who would lead (if anyone).
  • Before we started the sessions, I gave students a little background on Edcamps and explained some of the rules. We decided not to let students leave sessions once they had chosen them (ie - rule of two feet). With middle schoolers that can get complicated.
  • There was an adult in each room, but they were not there to lead the group. However, they did participate.
What
Here is the schedule we ended up with for the day.


Locations
Session 1
9:30 - 9:50
Session 2
10:20 - 10:40
Session 3
10:45 - 11:05
Session 4
11:10 - 11:30
John’s Classroom


Supervising Teacher:
John
[Session 4: Stephanie]
Video Games


Facilitated by:
Henry
LARP


Facilitated by:
Ben
Sports


Facilitated by:
OPEN
Endangered Animals


Facilitated by:
Peyton, Roxie, Danielle
Science Room 1


Supervising Teacher:
Brian B


[Session 1: Adnan]
The Possibility of Artificial Intelligence


Facilitated by:
Jasper

Matching People to TV Characters


Facilitated by:
OPEN
Synapse Conspiracy Theories


Facilitated by:
Beau
Hunger Games


Facilitated by:
Cara
Science Room 2


Supervising Teacher:
Chelsea
[Session 2: Adnan]
What will Earth look like in 10 years?


Facilitated by:
Beau
Youtube


Facilitated by:
OPEN
Nature Walks


Facilitated by:
OPEN
Food and Cooking


Facilitated by:
Andres, Kenaan, Zach
Brian L’s Advisory


Supervising Teacher:
Brian L
World Problems and Potential Solutions


Facilitated by:
OPEN
Is the universe real?


Facilitated by:
Brian
Magic Camp


Facilitated by:
Ben, Henry
Ideas for School and Ideas for Clubs


Facilitated by:
Ingrid
Holly’s Advisory


Supervising Teacher:
Holly
Women’s Rights


Facilitated by:
Mady, Abby
Star Wars


Facilitated by:
Evan, Corsa, Frankie, Eli
Interstellar


Facilitated by:
Tryston
Why do things go viral?


Facilitated by:
Bella
Danielle’s Advisory


Supervising Teacher:
Danielle
Books


Facilitated by:
Phoebe
Animal Sciences


Facilitated by:
Ben, Henry
Current Events


Facilitated by:
OPEN
Dinosaurs


Facilitated by:
Spencer
Jessica’s Advisory


Supervising Teacher:
Jessica
Space


Facilitated by:
Tryston
Animal Cruelty


Facilitated by:
Abby , Mady
Music


Facilitated by:
OPEN
NFL


Facilitated by:
Eli
Federico’s Room


Supervising Teacher:
Federico
Physics of the Flying Disc (AKA Frisbee)


Facilitated by:
OPEN
What is the best book ever?


Facilitated by:
Maleeha
The Presidential Election


Facilitated by:
Daniel
The Psychology of Magic the Gathering


Facilitated by:
Humza
Steven’s Math Room


Supervising Teacher:
Steven
The Martian


Facilitated by:
Humza
What is the best movie of the 2000s?


Facilitated by:
OPEN
Theodicy


Facilitated by:
OPEN
SSS


Facilitated by:
OPEN
Quiet Multipurpose Room


Supervising Teacher:
Anne
[Session 2: Katie]
Communism, Socialism, Capitalism


Facilitated by:
Eli
Will Star Wars 7 be any good? If no, what will be the outcome?


Facilitated by:
OPEN
Patterns in Nature


Facilitated by:
OPEN
Minecraft


Facilitated by:
OPEN
Katie’s Writing Workshop Room


Supervising
Teacher:
Jimmy
John Cena


Facilitated by:
Jordan
Why do you get socks and clothes for Christmas?


Facilitated by:
Lisa
Equality with Humans and Animals


Facilitated by:
Maleeha , Abby, Mady
Global Warming and Climate Change


Facilitated by:
OPEN

Now What
When we first introduced the juntos for the day, a student asked, "Is the the first Junto or the last one?" I told her, that was up to the students. If they took this seriously we would love to do this again. From everything I have heard, the day was a huge success. My daughter facilitated 3 different sessions (she is in the 6th grade at my school) and this morning she asked me if we could have Juntos every Friday.

We will definitely debrief the experience, iterate and repeat!

Have I mentioned how much I love my school lately? Wow! - the things that my faculty and students do there blow me away everyday. Stay tuned for more posts on all of the great things  that are going on in this amazing place.


I am also helping to organize another Edcamp Independent Schools #edcampIS on February 27th, the Saturday after the NAIS confernce, at Burke's School in San Francisco. I hope you see some of you there.






Post a Comment