Kid EdCamp

EdCamps are all the rage these days in professional development for teachers. Learn more about EdCamps for teachers here...and here.

Would 4th and 5th graders be able to hold their own student-driven, student-centered EdCamp? We gave it a shot this last Friday in room 32 at Wildomar Elementary School. Students signed up all week long to run the sessions. The “poster” was a shared Google Spreadsheet. We held four 15-minute sessions with a 20-minute break in the middle and at the end for reflection. The kids LOVED it as I’m sure you will be able to tell in this 4-minute highlight video of the event. Presentation topics included horses, One Direction band, Scratch game programming, dance, gymnastics, iPad settings, baseball, and Minecraft.

Assessment of the Day

It was a bit messy at times, but overall, the kids were thoroughly engaged and will never forget it. Areas to improve: greater guidance on “voting with your feet,” brainstorm topics before giving the kids access to the sign-up board, encourage deeper topics, and having more time for follow-up discussion and/or reflection journaling at the end. Victories: the presenters took it very seriously, one girl had a ton of research ready to go, one very shy girl totally blossomed and showed amazing communication and leadership skills, 29 of my 30 students present were engaged and learning, no one seemed to be too hurt by participants leaving their session, very little wasted time, took students to a new level of maturity and love of learning.

What about teaching the standards? None of the sessions were standards-based. I’m not sure if this is important, and if I did try to steer the event in that direction, if it would still be this engaging and successful in the eyes of the students. Students were definitely learning habits of mind, 21st century skills, and were totally engaged. Is there a way to run such an event that is standards-based without losing the magic? That remains to be seen. I plan to try it again in a month and include one or two other 4th/5th grade classes.

You MUST read our student blogs reflecting on EdCamp!

I value your input. Please comment.


Published by

Tim Bedley

Tim Bedley has been teaching elementary school since 1988. He was recognized as the 2013 Riverside County Teacher of the year. Tim is also the founder of America's number one educational rock band, Rockin' the Standards. He also produces two podcast found on iTunes: The Bedley Bros. and The 5-Minute MishMash. Tim and his brother Scott are co-founders of Global School Play Day, a grassroots movement to promote unstructured play with today's youths.

8 thoughts on “Kid EdCamp”

  1. Tim, this sounds like an incredible day! It’s amazing to see how much student ownership was displayed in the video! And also, don’t sell yourself short. You’ve hit the speaking and listening standards in EVERY SESSION! 😉 Thank you for inspiring me with your awesome Edcamp design!

    1. Thanks so much Kristen! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment on the kids’ reflections on our class blog. You’re right; speaking and listening standards definitely were addressed. Thanks for getting involved!

  2. Wow! What a great idea Tim. These students were SO engaged in learning. I have done something similar called a “smackdown” but would love to try the Ed Camp idea. I have been to two Ed Camps in Minnesota and love the idea of choice learning. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I attended an EdCamp this summer and am inspired to try this in my classroom and also encourage my admin to try this for staff meetings or PD!

  4. We also decided to do a Kid EdCamp at my school. I looked on Google to see if anyone else had taken this fabulous idea on and here you are! My colleague, Michelle, emailed you questions and I wanted to personally thank you! Although it snowed Wednesday Feb.5th in Baltimore, my principal was so supportive because of the students excitement, she canceled regularly scheduled classes and we had Kid EdCamp 2014 on Thursday! Students from PreK through grade 5 attended and ran sessions. One session was run by a Kindergarten class! They taught a Goldilocks Rap! Most other sessions were run by 3rd and 5th graders and some 4th graders. It was AWESOME! We had two computer labs filled with Minecraft and coding sessions. We did learn that two labs running Minecraft may be a bit too much bandwidth for my school, but that isn’t a done deal yet! Our Smackdown was priceless! Students shared that they loved learning with other kids who had the same passion, one student said they now know what they would do for Genius Time because they attended the Stop Motion Photography session, and another said she loved making new friends! Anyway, I will write a complete blog about it today or tomorrow!
    Thanks so much for being a trail blazer and sharing your thoughts with the world! They certainly helped us!

    Sent from my iPad

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