So often I see the same sentiment from educators involved in education dialogue, “Wouldn’t it be nice if a school were doing ____. I would love to see a school who actually implemented _______, instead of just talking about it.”
As an educator, I felt the same. I would be energized by discussions with colleagues at conferences and then again each week during Twitter chats; I was inspired to do something better, but unsure of where to start. Equally disheartening, I rarely had the examples of schools doing really transformative things to share back with my own school.
It was as a result of these types of interactions that I started my own, “what if we…” school. What if we redesigned assessment and ditched tests? What if we had a school with a no homework policy? What if we got rid of all boxed curriculum? What if we took kids on learning excursions every week? What if we built a true community of learners? What if we got rid of classrooms that looked like classrooms and used space differently? What if we had 1:1 technology?
I want to invite you to come see what this kind of, “what if we…” school looks like. For all of you who have dreamed a different kind of school, a different kind of education, this conference is for you.
5Sigma Edu Con is not your typical conference. Our goal isn’t to show you all of the latest and greatest apps that you can use in your classroom (although you’ll likely learn about some new ones while your here). Our goal isn’t to inspire you (although inspiration will be here in abundance). Our goal is to give voice to all of your, “what if we…” dreams. To show you what it looks like to start that school, and then empower you to launch some of those dreams in your own classroom.
The conference begins with a Keynote by Jimmy Casas followed by a tour of Anastasis Academy led by our students. You’ll get a learner-eye-view of this “dream” school. You’ll get a variety of sessions by the very people who have inspired us along the way. Sessions that go beyond your typical sit-and-get. Sessions that inspire you and then empower you to launch change in your classroom.
You’ll also get a closing keynote by the awesome Sarah Thomas, panel discussions, an adult field trip (to a brewery…because it is in Denver!), and the most amazing burger and tots you can imagine (seriously, ask anyone who has been to a 5Sigma Edu Con and they will tell you that this alone is worth the price of admission!)
If you need help getting the PD dollars to attend 5Sgima, customize this template letter to request help from the Powers-That-Be (AKA your administration or development committee). Just copy and paste the sessions that interest you most.
Below are just a few of the sessions you can look forward to at this year’s 5Sigma Edu Con. Space is limited, so make sure to reserve your spot today! If you want to bring a team from your school, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to work out a group discount.
Simplify: Becoming a Carry-on Teacher in a Checked Baggage Classroom
In teaching, we have a bazillion things to do every day, but that doesn’t mean we need to have a bazillion things. Brass tacks: I like minimalism, I dig gadgets and tools that I can keep on my person, and I love going mobile. This session will provide sample minimalist philosophies, ideas for everyday items to carry, and time to craft our own personal teaching toolkits to manage our workflows. The concepts apply to all teachers and are particularly valuable for those who share space.
PBL and Tech: Tools to Support Inquiry Based Learning
Explore tools and apps useful to teachers and students in an inquiry based learning environment. Facilitator and participants will share what they know or learn about tools that support engaging student interest through inquiry, research, project management, and creating artifacts of learning.
Shades of 1:1 – What Models Work Best to Transform Classrooms
– Ben Wilkoff
How does a 1:1 environment change the way we plan lessons to create more engaging learning tasks? How does it support and empower students? If we haven’t answered these questions, why should we hold it up as the ideal? In this session we will interrogate the notion of 1:1 and explore alternative ways of supporting Blended and Personalized Learning in our schools.
Let Them Lead! Student-Owned Learning Environment (re)Design
-Jessica Raleigh and Chris Moore
How might children be leaders and highly engaged learners throughout all phases of a student-led learning environment design (or redesign!) cycle? This session explores the question with a variety of adult and student facilitators from McGlone Academy, guided by a backchannel and planning documents for a learning space (re)design.
Know Your Place: Using Placemaking and Storytelling to Make Meaning & Change the World
We are preparing students for successful futures in a world of automation and outsourcing. This session investigates and unpacks skills that people do better than machines and that can’t be shipped to other countries. Let’s be human and state making meaning together.
Learning > Assessment: Embedding Stories that Empower Learning
– Kelly Tenkely
How might we re-imagine our assessment practices to better embed stories in the data? How might we give our assessment practices an “upGrade” to better empower students as learners? In this session, we’ll explore the purpose of assessment and identify those elements that help us better tell the stories of learning. We’ll start from a clean slate and re-imagine assessment from the ground up.
What is Sacred in Education? Building a Foundation for Agency
What is the first step for agency in education? How might we use a Learner Profile to build a foundation and culture for agency in our schools? Together we’ll explore the pieces of the Learner Profile that we use at Anastasis, as well as how this step into agency seeps into every decision we make as a school.
Passion-Based Learning Through Inquiry- “An Inquiry Inception”
– Michelle Baldwin
Students are often asked to find answers to problems created for them by adults; frequently, these concepts are introduced with little to no context as to how they relate to the students. We want learners to feel empowered to explore ideas that make them wonder, discover problems to solve, ask questions, and demonstrate what they’ve learned in ways that help them make sense of the world around them.
Empowered learners follow their curiosity past mere engagement to discovery and “light bulb” moments in learning. Through an inquiry model, students are able to explore new concepts and follow their passions to a higher level of learning. This results in increased ownership, deeper levels of understanding, and the ability to assess their own progress through reflection. As student agency increases, their learning becomes more meaningful and relevant!
In this session, participants will learn the inquiry model through inquiry – Inquiry Inception! We’ll explore passion-based learning and inquiry methods to learn how to guide students into discovering their passions within any classroom.