Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Introduction to BrewCue

I feel I am so behind in my writing/blogging.  This past week has easily been my busiest since the school year started.  Our wonderful Teacher's College staff developer, Alissa Levy, was in from New York to work with our staff twice this week (expect a blog post late next week on this).  We also had our long awaited Alcatraz field trip on Tuesday.  The day was flawless, and the kids not only learned a great deal, but also they had an amazing experience that will last with them for quite some time.  However, I have to admit that taking 72 fifth graders on a boat to Alcatraz and back during a five-hour period is equal to about a week's worth of exhaustion.  Plus, in the classroom, my students and I are getting ready for our fall parent/teacher/student conferences.  The week was packed!  This teacher was beyond tired.  In fact, I was so tired that I unplugged from Twitter, my blog, reading others' blogs, and all things ed-related outside of my own classroom for about four days.   I'm happy to say, I'm back!

Now that I've had plenty of time and rest to be able to reflect, I'm thinking back on one of the highlights of this week:  BrewCue on Tuesday night.  BrewCues are mini unconference gatherings of local educators to informally discuss different topics in education.  This BrewCue, organized by fellow educators, Karl Lindgren-Streicher (@LS_Karl) and Robert Pronovost (@pronovost) was held at Gott's Roadside in Palo Alto.

When I walked into Gott's Roadside in Palo Alto, I noticed a long table of what looked like to be 20+ educators engaged in different conversations.  I quickly spotted my good friend and educator extraordinaire, Katie Kinnaman (@MrsKinnaman).  I immediately walked over to Katie, sat down, and started chatting.  Katie and I worked together for years and share many philosophies about education practice.  It was great to have that time to catch up with her and to hear more about her new job as principal at Gardner Bullis Elementary in Los Altos.  One thing Katie mentioned stuck with me.  She described how her favorite time of day was being outside with her students during recess and lunch.  When I worked with Katie as a teacher, she was so student-centered and always put the needs of students before everything else.  As a principal, she does the same.  Having a nice 20-minute chat with her at BrewCue was long overdue!

Another conversation I particularly enjoyed during Brew Cue was with a few other teachers who are also believers in the Teacher's College Reading Writing Project model.  Stephanie Hardinger (@MsHardinger), Jenna Wachtel (@JennaWachtel), Jenny Maehara (@jennymae), and new teacher Raquel Goya (@raquelgoya), and I had a great conversation about my TCRWP experience that week.  It was so nice to be able to share about writing workshop in my classroom and to hear about others' experiences.  Just having these informal conversations helps all of us grow as educators.  They are so valuable.  After the conversation, we all concluded that we needed to have more, specifically about teaching the writing workshop.  The funny thing is, I follow all of these teachers on Twitter, but did not meet them in person until Tuesday's BrewCue!

BrewCue is all about connecting educators and ideas in an informal and open environment.  It's about relevant, natural conversations.  Thank you to Karl and Robert for organizing!  This was my first of hopefully many BrewCues!

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