Monday, October 27, 2014

I'm a Nerd

I'll admit it, and I'm okay with it. I'm a nerd.

I've always loved reading and always did well in school (except for freshman biology in college, but....).

I love learning and spend a lot of time seeking new ideas and trying new things.

That's why I jumped at the chance to attend nErDcamp Iowa last Saturday......and it was awesome.

Banner outside Southeast Elementary in Ankeny, Iowa
The Southeast teachers were great hosts!!
nErDcamp is similar to an EDCamp because it is an "unconference," meaning that it's the teachers that are in control of their own learning. Personalized PD, conversations about common topics, and making new connections with others is what it's all about. The difference between a nErDcamp and other EDCamps is the focus on literacy.

I arrived at the location and was greeted with smiles, welcomes, and a "swag bag!" It was full of books and other goodies that teachers love - such as bookmarks and a stress relief ball (definitely could have used that last week).

After walking into the library I was introduced to the "idea board" where attendees could choose topics for the 4 sessions. Then, I was offered some breakfast --- delicious! Coffee, water, donuts, breakfast casserole, and other goodies.

These teachers really knew how to throw a party --- and it was free! I can't believe there wasn't a bigger crowd.

Aren't these NERD balloons festive?
The neat thing about the nErDcamp is that we started out the day with a special guest speaker. We were honored to be able to listen to K-5 School Librarian John Schumacher from Naperville, Illinois, otherwise known as Mr. Schu (@MrSchuReads). 

Mr. Schu gave an amazing presentation about getting students connected to books and he inspired us all through his stories. He even gave out a countless number of free books. The book below, This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen, was my prize for winning the Kahoot book trivia game.

This book smells awesome! (Mr. Schu told us about how he
has his students smell new books) Reminds me of a bookstore!
After the keynote, teachers chose sessions to attend. The sessions were great - lots of amazing ideas were shared. Many of the sessions have notes posted here: idea board.

The great thing about these sessions is that the "ROOM" was the
expert. No one had to get up and be the expert leader - we all shared alike.
I always have trouble making decisions, so having to choose between 3 equally amazing discussions each hour was hard. I enjoyed each session, took a lot of notes and learned some new things I'll be able to implement this year in my classroom. I really appreciated the fact that everyone was able to give & take ideas, whether it was in a larger group discussion or in a smaller conversation.

After lunch and before the afternoon session, we all anticipated the prize drawings. The table of prizes was displayed all day long and it was full of neat items -- books, candles, t-shirts, socks, mugs, website subscriptions, and much more.

nErDcampia prize table!
To my surprise, I was the first name drawn! I did have my name in the drawing a few times though - once for attending, one more for suggesting a session title, and a couple more times for taking and sharing notes at the sessions I attended. So, what did I choose when my name was drawn first?

Yay - a free registration to the 1:1 Institute in Des Moines in April.
Awesome prize for me as it is my first year 1:1 with Chromebooks!!
This was my second "edcamp" experience this fall and it was overall a great opportunity to learn more about something I was interested in -- and isn't that the true meaning of professional development? Seeking new ideas to help you grow professionally as an educator, and having a lot of fun doing it. 

That's a great way to spend my Saturday.

Even though it's nerd-ish.
I came home with a 1:1 Registration certificate, Newsela t-shirt,
9 books, and much more!
Now I'm looking forward to nErDCamp Iowa 2 next year! Join me! 

More info, tweets, and pictures can be found here:


  1. We loved having you and hope that you will be able to attend again next year! Thanks for the amazing post!

  2. Cool! I'm so glad you were able to go -- I was unable to make either the EdCamp or this one this year. Next year, I hope! Thanks for sharing the links, I'm excited to check out the nerdcampia website too.

    Hope your week is going super this week, and I'd love to collaborate sometime -- please let me know what/how/when you have an idea or something you'd like to work together on. :)


  3. nErD Camp sounds awesome! It looks like it was a great experience, and you went home with one of my favorite picture books. What a fun way to spend a Saturday!