Fall CUE

This weekend was the 2012 FallCUE conference. First a huge tip ‘o the hat to Jon Corippo for the ride to the conference.  I wouldn’t have been able to attend on Friday at all without Jon’s generosity. Another tip ‘o the hat to  Wayne Stagnarro for pushing me to attend. 

FallCUE has only been around a few years. There are some old timers who talk about a Northern California CUE conference, but that is ancient history in my book. The modern version of the conference is held at American Canyon High School in Napa County. Yes, THAT Napa. It wasn’t really that difficult of a decision to attend; fall in wine country is not exactly a tough sell! It is one of the few conferences I can actually get my wife to accompany me to, imagine that.

On to the conference. There were really a number of workshops that helped me with things I have been struggling with. Alice Keeler brought her spreadsheet magic and filled in a huge hole in my teacher student feedback loop. She showed us how to use a Google Drive form to gather student assignments, and then use a mail merge script to send feedback to the student via email, directly from the form spreadsheet. Very slick, and even I can do it! As if that were not enough, she then showed us how to use a pivot table in the same spreadsheet to keep track of the student assignments. 

That alone was worth the price of admission. But wait, there is more!

I also got to sit in on a session by Ramsey Musallam talking about how and why to “Flip” a classroom. There is a lot of buzz out there about flipping a classroom, and mostly I have been unimpressed. My thinking is that replacing a boring lecture with a YouTube video of a boring teacher lecturing doesn’t do anything to engage more students, or help students be more engaged. But that, Ramsey explained, is not what it is about. I am not going to pretend to articulate what I now understand, because I don’t think I can. Not yet. But I do have a few ideas about how I can implement what I learned this week. 

I left that workshop with my head spinning, but wait, there is even more!

Another highlight of the conference was the closing keynote by Vicki Davis, aka Cool Cat Teacher. I have followed Vicki on the Internet in a number of platforms for a couple of years, and she often dumps my cheese cart over.  She talked about telling kids “you are good at something and it is my job to find it.” I need to get back to the classroom and find some kids’ talent.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s