Sunday, April 21, 2013

Jed Camp - Part I

9:08 AM - At Jed Camp.  Eating breakfast, talking to three teachers from my school.

9:12 AM - The tech master from my school is trying to help a teacher get her emails sent to her new IPhone. It's complicated.

9:15 AM - The password isn't working, the back and forth continues.

9:16 AM - We can each give a talk? Me?  Maybe...

9:17 AM - A colleague just read this and was worried that he'd be mentioned in my next update.

9:33 AM - Shmoozed with a former colleague. Was interviewed and filmed and asked what I hope to get out of today.

A colleague just decided to present. If I did present it would be on either "Improv in Teaching," or on "What Do You Think Should Be A Limudei Kodesh Teacher's Primary Goal?" Another colleague is surprised that no-one is talking about the process and evaluations as opposed to tests, tests, tests - but she says she doesn't want to present.

The whole idea here is that people present what they want in an improv kind of way, I think...

Two people just gave welcomes and introductions.

I don't know what to do with the fact that when I encounter people all the things I know about that person, the times we've met before that they do or don't remember, and and and...

9:47 AM - This is an unconventional convention - the rule is that you are allowed and encouraged to walk out of any session that's not doing it for you.

10:14 AM - In a discussion about what a high school is meant to do.  We're going around and listing assumptions that presently exist in yeshiva high schools and what we should or should not change - if we could. The list of assumptions included that tests are needed, that Jewish Studies teachers should teach information and values, that it's an English teachers job is to teach writing, that extroversion is better than introversion.

10:18 AM - Someone just mentioned a video that questions if it's wisest to separate by grade - I couldn't catch the name. Martin Seligman was just quoted about positive well being.  His book is Flourish. Earlier Susan Cain was mentioned and her book, Quiet (also the video of her Ted-talk).

10:22 AM - There's a bit of a debate going on now about what a person should have when they leave high school. Skills? Happiness? Values?  Do you need Pre-Calc for life?  Do you need it for college?

10:26 AM - Will Richardson's article was just quoted. On a related note someone just said that we should make chanoch le'na'ar al pi darco our mantra.

10:28 AM - This seems to be a popular room.  A bunch of people have come in in the middle, leaving other groups.  I don't think anyone has left this room.

10:30 AM - A curriculum consultant just spoke up in response to the question of Judaic Studies and others' curricular goals.

10:36 AM - There's a lot of talk about a lot of walls that exist and if those walls could or should be broken down - walls between subjects, between personality types, between levels of understanding and commitment, between the Israel year and what we do. Israel has been picked up on now as a point of interest - someone is wondering aloud if the Israel year does more than "making people frum for 5 minutes."

10:43 AM - The moderator was masterful in stepping back.  He now subtly is speaking up as time winds down.  He has pointed out that it's interesting how many times the Israel year has come up during our talk about the 4 years of high school.

10;45 AM - An impressive (wise, quiet, thoughtful)  fellow named Dov Emerson (I know his name because he was on the Middle States committee  that evaluated my school this go round) is saying that we should not underestimate the power we have in relating to and engaging kids.

11:07 AM - I'm in my second session, which has 6 people (all males,all rabbinic types, it seems) in it as of now.  We're talking about curriculum and standards.  Teachers are creating lessons every night, someone is saying, and wondering if this needs to be the case.

A discussion took place for a few seconds about whether being able to learn Gemorah on one's own is a higher priority than other goals?

11:11 AM - I think I'm going to trust the rule that people are committed to not being offended if you leave a room...

11:17 AM - Just entered a session on being positive based on the thoughts of Martin Seligman. The facilitator of the class has his students, on the first day of school, fill out a survey about their strengths. There's talk about celebrating successes "in a loud, yet informal, yet deliberate way" - through things besides words, like body language.  The advice is given to not accept negativity, not to accept the assumption that there is a they, and to create a feeling that there is a we. A complaint about email has been submitted - because it takes away from body language etc.  A response is offered that emails need not be uncomplimentary, terse, or cold but can be positive as well. Yes and is being promoted instead of ever saying the word "but"... ""I notice, I wonder, what if, how might..." -  This model of words can be used when you watch someone teach, says someone in  in the room.  I'm thinking that these words are big for life and that a classroom is just a place where life goes on.

11:33 AM - The focus is positive here, while talking about positivism (is positivity a word?) (not according to Word). The question of trust comes up.  Trust must be established for positivity to be effective....

Positivity Ratio is a book and a website that the facilitator is mentioning as we wind down.  If you have a 3 to 1 ratio of positive to negative she says that scientifically you become a person that can be successful - it's like the temperature at which water freezes, it just happens.  Most people, over 80 percent, of people have less than 3 to 1ratio of positive to negative...

11:46 PM - Someone just looked up online and is now citing another group of researchers' ratio, who says that it needs to be 5.8 to 1 for a team to be successful. This is in the book Appreciative Team Building. And someone else now adds that in marriage the Gottmans say you need 5 to 1 positive to be successful.

11:54 AM - Time for lunch.

12:09 PM - I just looked this over and am going to post it.  Going to eat lunch and to prepare for my session on Improv which will be one of the ones right after lunch, please G-d.


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