5. Back to DENSI: My first DENSI was in Boston in 2010. I was relatively new to the DEN, and the whole experience of that institute changed my view of my role in it. In 2011, I gave birth to our youngest son during the week of DENSI. This year in Vermont was my first opportunity to come back. From the moment that I walked through the doors of the dorm, my absence seemed so insignificant. It was like I’d never been physically gone, and the relationships that I had forged virtually over the past three years, were alive and well in this face to face environment. On Wednesday night, we had an excursion to the Vermont Lake Monsters baseball game, and I happened to remember to check in on FourSquare. This screen is what I saw. While it doesn’t seem that exciting, the first reminder struck me. The “Chad” it refers to is DEN Community Manager, Chad Lehman, and our last face to face, was playing cards in Boston Logan Airport as we were leaving for home after DENSI 2010. I was all of a sudden struck by the length of time that really had passed since I had been face to face with these people that are true friends, but I was overwhelmed by how much I value the time we do get to be together!
4. DEN Serves! Zulma Whiteford, DEN Star Extraordinaire, organized a service project for the LC Pre-Conference participants where we packed lunches for a local food service organization and prepared thank you cards for foster families in the Burlington area. We spent less than an hour working together, and we wanted to do more. This project led to the idea of creating a DEN Serves month where DEN Stars, members, and schools take the opportunity to give back to the communities in which they live. The DEN is about people, and what better way is there for us to show our community spirit than to give back!
3. Presenting as a DEN Guru. This was my first conference as a Guru. While I am still amazed and humbled by this honor, it was a unique experience to attend DENSI in this role. I present workshops in dozens of places to hundreds of people each year. I have never been more terrified than I was to present at DENSI. When I present at local and regional workshops, I know that my audience often ranges from no experience to avid users of technology. I am usually pretty confident that I will have something new to share and some solid tips for technology implementation in the classroom. When I was planning for DENSI, I knew that my audience included the best and the brightest of educators from across North America. I didn’t know where to begin because I wanted to ensure that my content was something new! Secretly, I was terrified and relieved that I was in the first session of training. Getting positive feedback from my DEN friends was so meaningful to me, but I can’t explain how much it meant to go through the process of preparing for and presenting to such an esteemed audience! Here are some links to my resources!
2. People, Not Ideas. When I think about the DEN, I immediately think about people who are passionate about teaching and learning, kids, and networking for the good of the group. Each event I attend with the DEN grows my belief that teachers will never become obsolete, they will just evolve. Each memory that I recall from DENSI is triggered by people, like our #densiroadtrip with Kate, Alison, and Judy or the DEN-Mazing Race with my awesome team of Alison, Pete, and Jake. I’ll think of late night boys versus girls TV theme song trivia with Dean and the search for Champ with Brandon. When I think of Aurasma, I’ll think of sitting with Rafranz to brainstorm ideas and working with Kate to build one for her costume. When it comes to great laughs and new friendships, DENSI will be the summer that I got to know Dave T, David F, and Dennis. My life is richer thanks to these people, and more! The content will come with the people, and I will continue to learn because I know the people of the DEN are there to support me – personally and professionally.
1. JOY! I always have affective goals for my classroom. I want my students to love learning, but when Dean Shareski shared his Joy! video, I was incredibly moved. It is my personal goal to make sure that my classroom, and hopefully my school, will be a place of joy this year! I know that this video will be a go-to on my tough days, for sure! I’d be honored to have my students feel the same way about the learning in our classroom.