Imagine bringing 150 educators from across Canada and the United States together for a week of connecting and collaborating like no other. Now imagine it in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. Sounds great right? The answer is yes!!!! This was the scene for The Discovery Educator Network’s Summer Institute (DENSI).
I just had the most wonderful week learning, laughing and collaborating with some of the most amazing teachers courtesy of Discovery Education and the Discovery Educator Network. Throughout the week there were keynotes and sessions, capped off by an unconference day. An unconference day is planned by the participants – you might have something to offer or you might be looking for someone to explore an idea with you. You can come and go or just hang out and talk with other people – some of the best conversations happen here! This year we also had an Unclosing – where people could just get up and share their thoughts. It was great to hear everyone’s experiences!
I have been incredibly fortunate to grow my network over the past two years because of the Discovery Educator Network (DEN). The talented and passionate people I have met have allowed me to grow as an educator and they have given me more ideas than I could have ever imagined. The best part about these connections is that these people live all over the US and Canada. So many different perspectives and talents to learn from.
It is really hard to pin down my favourite moments of the week because there are so many! Here are a few but there are many, many more.
- The people – The other participants and the DEN team make this week what it is. This is a community of educators that elevate each other and make each other better teachers.
- The sessions – Whatever you want to learn about happens here. And if you can’t make it to a session you can be sure you will still be able to learn from any person that attended.
- The location – Vermont is gorgeous! And the tree hugger in me loved this place! They recycle and compost almost everything. When the temperature gets too hot (it got too hot), the university turns the power off and runs on generators.
- The activities – The DENmazing race is the highlight for my competitive self. Last year my team took first and this year second! It is sooo much fun. We also had the chance to attend the Vermont Lake Monsters baseball game. I had a great time with my back row crew! Face the Music and Name that Tune were a great addition this year! Although the girls lost by a slim margin both nights, we will be seeking redemption next year!
- The fun – Aside from all of the activities and sessions there is time for everyone to just hang out and get to know one another. I laughed more during this week than I have in a long time! Being able to connect with friends from last year and adding new ones this year was a highlight for me!
Now what? Now I sift through all of the amazing information and resources from this week and figure out what will work in my classroom. I can’t wait to meet my kids and see what adventures we will go on this year! I also cannot wait to share with the teachers in my division and school! It is going to be a great year.
Thank you Discovery Education and thank you to all of the participants that made this week amazingly awesome…yah I said amazingly awesome!