Trying Something New

I tried something new a few weeks back. It is called EdCamp. Most conferences I go to have a well planned out itinerary with a “big book” that lists all the sessions. I usually find a few that interest me and bounce from session to session. I have even presented at a few. Little did I know when I attended EdCampMetroDC a few weeks ago I would actually be sharing at the session.

I showed up at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart on a Saturday morning and the “Big Board” was already out. Educators from all over the DC area were in attendance and starting to put Post-Its up on the session board. This was the first I learned of what would be presented that day. Many of us stood there as if we were looking at the train schedule in Grand Central Station. The difference was this board wasn’t just telling you what the schedule was going to be. It was more interactive.

train grand central

Since I am still a big fan of Post-Its, I drew up the courage to share in one of the sessions. I wrote down my topic and posted it on the board. I was a little nervous but also excited to share in a session talking about financial literacy in schools.

The first session I attended was about using twitter as a professional development tool. It was great to hear and see ways people were using it to support growth. The session on financial literacy was great as well. I was able to share my experience and learn about what others were doing in their schools or planned to do. It was a great way to network and I have since set up meetings with some of the people I met there.

All in all it was a great experience I hope to be part of again. It got me thinking too (which is a dangerous thing). Why can’t we do EdCampWoods? What a great way for our teachers to share out as we start the year with professional development in August. Please take a moment to fill out the form below. Stay tuned for our experts and what they will share.


As many of you know, I have been teaching a class this year at The Woods Academy called Business School. It is part of the 5th grade curriculum and each student will have a full trimester of the course. We focus on personal finance/ investing, public speaking and entrepreneurship. We teach the basics of each of these topics and the students engage with meaningful projects as they relate to each topic.

Going back to a previous blog post, Today’s Lesson is Brought to you by the Letter “C”, I discussed the importance of C words like collaborate, creativity, character, critical thinking and communication. These “C” words are alive and well in Business School. Let me share two short stories that highlight two of these “C” words. One came from a recent “Shark Tank” presentation by the LLBD Services group. This clever group pitched their idea to start a business that would provide a range of cleaning, organization and assistance services to students and teachers. It was a great presentation, but what stood out for me was the character component. The group was clear in their business plan that the one service they would not provide was doing someone else’s homework. Character counts and they impressed this Shark Tank member immensely with this key non-service. The final piece on this story is the LLBD Services group had a huge profit with very low overhead.

photo 1

The second story revolves around the “C” word creativity. High on Bloom’s Taxonomy of higher order thinking is the word creativity. Our students were given the task to invent businesses out of thin air, run them for a week and analyze the results (sometimes as they went). The businesses that have been created have truly worked and the students put the time in to make it a success. Two groups were faced with dwindling customers at one point. Neither group threw up their hands in disgust. They both embraced this mini failure and turned a profit. One group was not getting customers for their locker clean-up service so they added another item to their menu of offerings, a spray of air freshener to a locker for only $1 (in middle school they could have charged more). The second group changed their recipe for smoothies when they learned some people did not like the taste of their product. It is not easy to admit that you have a product that may not be working, but this group did just that and had their highest sales days after the recipe adjustment.

photo 2

Creative critical thinkers collaborating and communicating their products with the highest character. A mouthful of “C” words. Impressive!

We are offering this course as a series of online courses this summer where students will have the opportunity to engage in meaningful summer work that truly gets at these “C” words in a way that is fun and relevant. See the course information below:

Summer Online Courses at The Woods Academy (open to any and all students in grades 6-9)

-click on link to The Savvy Investor, The Entrepreneur and Keyboarding (essential skill) to read more and sign up.