First reflections on #AMLE2014

As I sit in the Nashville airport waiting to return home, I want to record my quick reflections from my experience at the conference.

1. AMLE puts on the best conference for middle level EDUCATORS. So much information presented here. You have the best of the best presenters displaying their A game for all to see. Also present are some of the brightest teachers who want to share what they are doing in their classrooms. AMLE works hard to make sure to provide a diverse selections of offerings. Most frequent comment I have heard is that too many great sessions it is hard to choose just 1. I guess that is why so many districts bring teams of teachers so they won’t have to miss a session.

2. The central theme here has been: Relationships in learning centered formative assessment classrooms. Every session that I attended has focused on this theme or part of the theme. I did I miss a summative assessment session? Please send me info if I did. At home in many districts we focus too much on the end results that we forget the path we take to get to the results is what really matters. The passion for student engagement and student learning is so evident in every presenter I have seen here. We need to spend more time on these aspects of our jobs and let the test results fall where they may. (I am betting they improve.

3. Middle level educators are still getting there as connected educators. Twitter was discussed in many session. My session was to show the value in connecting and how to navigate twitter chats. We even held a live twitter chat for #MSchat last night. I was so excited to meet my PLN. We had a modest sized group show up (20) for the chat. As we sat in a circle tweeting and talking it was reflected by most that most educators still were figuring out the connected piece. In a session I over heard a conversation that went like this: “Are you on twitter? Yes but I don’t really use it! Mainly only at conferences.” Well we need to change that. ALL connected educators need to model the value of the twitter connection. We place our time in things we value. When being connected is valued by administrators on down teachers will spend their time there. Can’t just be tweeting out pictures of us with Edu-All-Stars. Need to tweet ideas and thoughts shared to make our learning visible.

4. There incredible value in  the small conversations. My greatest learning moments came in conversations over a meal or while sitting at a table for a session. The keynotes were inspiring, the national level presenters gave lots of great ideas. The small conversations are where the inspirations and ideas are worked out to work for YOU in your district. Teachers can’t just be inspired and given big ideas: they need time to reflect in groups and process the information so it can be placed into practice.

Thank you to all who I connected with at AMLE. You are my friend and family in the middle. I hope we continue to connect over the next year online until we meet again in Columbus. (or other conferences in between.)

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