The EdCampKC 2014 that Almost Wasn’t.

One of the practices I do after I do something is to sit and meditate.  This allows me to absorb and digest all of the information I’ve learned for the day.  As an educator, I take the time to write and reflect on my experiences.  This helps me improve my teaching and learning practices.


The EdCampKC 2014 almost didn’t happen for me.  My journey to attend the EdCampKC was three years in the making and the fourth year a success.

2011 – I couldn’t go due to unforeseen circumstances.

2012 – I couldn’t go due to scheduling conflicts.

2013 – I couldn’t go due to unforeseen circumstances.

What a horrendous pattern!  Would history repeat itself in 2014?  I hoped not.  Seriously, I couldn’t go because “life” happened and they took priority. 2014 was the year for me. It had to be!! The strong feeling of my attendance washed over me and I could “see” myself there.

Until….  I discovered the seats for the EdCampKC filled up faster than I had time to click on the link.  Yes.  Lightning speed fast.

A glimmer of hope came in the form of a “Waitlist” button.  I filled out my email address to alert me when a spot opened up and I just threw hope into the wind.  If it was meant for me to go, then it was meant for me to go.  The spirits were in control of the future.  I just went along for the ride.

A few weeks passed, family obligations came up.  My hubby told me he had a mandatory training the same weekend as the EdCampKC.  This was a sign.  The spirits were preparing me not to get excited.  I hung onto a sliver of hope — there might be an opening.

Lo and behold, an email came in my inbox.  Yep — you guessed it!  A SLOT HAD OPENED UP.  I signed up for a ticket and ….  I was finally going to EdCampKC 2014.

Photo Credit: Meli Halstead

Photo Credit: Meli Halstead

EdCampKC bound!  My spirits soared!  That night, I thought about the Edmodo Virtual Camp I attended a few weeks back — it comprised 100% of teacher’s sharing and presenting their ideas.  My school also held a virtual EdCamp and different teachers presented a topic.  My idea came fast and furious.  The next day was spent putting together a presentation: The ART of Digital Compliments and Feedback.

With any presentation I give, two final thoughts come to my mind:

  1. What if no one shows up?
  2. What if everyone shows up and there is not enough room?

We all like to cling to thought of #2.  I would be fine with the middle of the road: a few folks show up and have a great time!

Then I toss the worry aside and create a kick ass presentation with yummy content! Isn’t that what sharing is about?  The full minds of literary food we consume when we interact with other educators?

I slept fitfully that night — Okay. I didn’t sleep at all.  The entire night I felt like my five year old self who couldn’t wait to open presents Santa brought during the night.  The idea of learning, collaborating, interacting, mingling and meeting with other educators intoxicated me.

Saturday Morning —

Nelson Atkins is one of my FAVORITE places in KC.  I’m a regular.  When a new exhibit comes out – my family is there.  So, it was a double treat of awesomeness to attend an event at my very favorite place.

Nelson Atkins Museum has a knack for making their exhibits and experiences come alive for all attendees.  There’s been a shift from STEM (Science | Technology | Engineering | Mathematics) to STEAM (Science | Technology | Engineering | ART | Engineering).  Nelson Atkins so graciously provided the art.

Because Art is critical to education, they gave us a really cool **heavy** book filled with fantastic photographs.  Throwing some teacher love your way Nelson Atkins!!!

This rounded out my science educator world.  Art is an important part of the sciences.  Photo Credit: Meli Halstead

This rounded out my science educator world. Art is an important part of the sciences.
Photo Credit: Meli Halstead

Side Note — Shameless museum promotion — If you haven’t gone to visit The Nelson-Atkins Museum, be sure to check it out.  I went last week with my family to check out the Plains Indians Exhibit.

My EdCampKC 2014 Experience

I arrived ALONE. Yep.  I didn’t bring a friend or come with a group of other teachers.  Why?  I work virtually, but….  I met some incredible people that I had met on twitter.  This alone made the whole experience worthwhile. It was nice to put a name to a face.

(L) Picture: Me with @kylepace | (R) Picture: Me with @LauraGilchrist4

(L) Picture: Me with @kylepace | (R) Picture: Me with @LauraGilchrist4

The place came alive. Teachers mingled with other teachers.  The conversations centered around connecting with others and learning new content.  I signed up for a slot for my presentation.  It was nice to see other teachers write down their topics and claim a time slot for their presentation.  This signaled to me that we all have this need to share and consume information!


I claimed my spot @ 10:15 – 11:00 am CST to present The ART of Digital Compliments and Feedback. Classroom #3!!!

My Top Five TakeAways of EdCampKC 2014

Sharing of Ideas — Many educators came there to meet new teachers and to share ideas.  The event was so well put together, that moving from one room to another was painless.  Positive energy and open minds ran rampant.

Meeting new teachers — In each session I attended, the hosts were wonderful and made me feel very welcome.  Other educators reached out to each other and made connections.  We swapped twitter names and connected instantly.

How to Get Students Blogging — This was a double win for me because I met some great teachers who teach in the school my little human will be attending next year.  My mommy apprehension kicked in full gear and I contemplated on homeschooling my kiddo.  Once I met the teachers and saw their great presentation combined with meaningful conversation — I’m glad to say that he will be going to school.

The skills and tools offered during the session on how to get kiddos to start blogging allowed me to come away with everything I need to help my own students to start blogging.  I didn’t know that 3rd graders blog as my world centers around high school.  Pretty neat!

Learned what Sucked or Rocked and why.  What a great way to get teachers moving and discussing sensitive topics that affect our daily lives such as: grades, testing, uniforms, PLC, and more.  Many teachers offered their views as to why each topic: rocked, sucked, or a little bit of both.

Video Creation – I’ve always wanted to learn how to make videos, but was kind of shy to create them.  Sure, I have created screen recordings for my students, but nothing majorly creative.  This session showed me how to pull snippets from other videos, how to create videos, how to edit, and more.  I came away feeling confident and already have some video ideas in mind.

The entire experience was a positive one and highly recommend this for others.  If you see an EdCamp event in your area, please attend.  You’ll come away an enriched person.

Signature**If you do use the content from my presentation, please let me know.  I’d love to see you in action!  Sharing is caring.**

Meli Halstead is a kickass teacher who helps writers get their stories written using a variety of oracles.  She has held several workshops to help writers get their thoughts into book form.  Her goal for the 2014 – 2015 year is to help 1300 writers write their book.  She has written and published several short stories in her life time.  She also gives a voice to those who are trapped in the cruel world of human trafficking.


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