Tuesday, July 30, 2013

DENSI 2013 Reflection

Denmazing Race

DENSI Reflection

After ten days of being home from DENSI2013 I am putting thoughts to paper.  I read Chad’s reflection while I was on the way home.  Since then I have deliberately not read other reflections as I wanted to make sure I wrote my own without too much help.  Maybe in some way I also needed to give myself some incentive to get mine finished so that I could start reading the others.

Joe told me on the first day that he attended DENSI because it is summer camp for teachers.  What a great description that I completely agree with.    

I have attended both the November Learning Conference in Boston in 2009 and ISTE in 2012.  And although I believed DENSI to be a learning experience like both of these were, I also knew that because of the size of DENSI it would be different.  I was expecting and definitely open to the learning.  What I didn’t expect was the extent of the personal relationships that could develop in such a short time.  Some of these relationships are with people I have followed on twitter but many of them will now develop because of the face to face interactions that I made.  I am very much looking forward to this.  I now have contacts, colleagues and friends in almost every state of the US as well as Alberta, Manitoba and Nova Scotia.  

Some of my highlights:
1)      Dean’s “Joy” presentation.  As my school has been slated for closure in June 2014, I want to remember his message daily.  The purpose of my job this coming year is to keep joy in my school any way I can.
2)      The Google Session with David – I learned so much.
3)      Connie’s green screen session – I can hardly wait to share this with my K-3 teacher.
4)       Denmazing Race was a blast. 
5)      Getting to know Kate and Casey in the airport in Washington on Sat before DENSI – because we had connected via Edmodo and emailed each other before this whole thing started.  Thanks for allowing that to be possible. 
6)      The chance happenings and conversations that occurred – Taking the bus downtown and having a great conversation with Kate about autism and the job she has compared to my own, talking and sharing life stories with Bev over supper by the lake.    
7)      Enjoying my roommate Jill and her goofiness.  I love that we connected and I have access to her students’ blog and the great things she is doing in her classroom. 
8)      Trying out Hall’s google glass.

9)      Playing foos ball with Mario and others.
10)   Meeting people that I have followed on twitter for a long time - @kellyhines, @halldavidson, @teach42 to mention a few.  Sometimes because of the celebrity status that we give them, I need to remember that they are just nice people.
11)   Meeting so many people from so many places and knowing they and their expertise are only a tweet or Edmodo message away. 

My regrets:
1)      Not getting up at 6 to work out.  I had signed up for it but then chose that extra hour of sleep each morning.  Sleep is overrated!  It would have been one more way to network. 
2)      Missing Casey’s first pitch at the ball game.  We were downtown and waiting about 2 minutes too long for a cab to the game. 
3)      I want to say sitting back and taking it in rather than jumping in with both feet, but that would have changed the experience, so for my first time at DENSI this was okay. 
4)      Growing up with one tv channel until the age of 15 and then two until the age of 40.  I didn’t stand a chance in that game being played in the lobby in the evening.  Okay not a regret, just a fact of living in rural Saskatchewan all my life. 

Thank you to:    
1)      Donna Desroches for encouraging me yet again to pursue this opportunity and the Living Sky School Division for helping with some airfare cash.   
2)      Carol and Karen for taking me to the airport when my suitcase didn’t arrive.
3)      Jill for being a great roommate.
4)      Patty and Deb for being great suitemates.
5)      Barb, Edie and Heather for being my Denmazing Race partners.  SCAM worked well together. (Saskatchewan, Colorado, Arizona and Michigan if any of you were wondering)
6)      Mark for the ride to the airport.
7)      Kate for sharing a room with me on Sat night.
8)      Susan for driving me around on Sunday.
9)      And everyone else for being friendly, open and fun to be around. 

Burlington, Vermont is beautiful.  I loved the green and the flowers!  I am sure people got sick of me asking questions about what kind of tree or flower we were driving by.  I still have some research to do in that regard.    

On the airplane ride home, on the leg from Chicago to Regina I met a future teacher from Arkansas.  She was flying to Regina to visit with her boyfriend who is playing baseball there. She is a wonderful girl who has never traveled out of the US.  We talked STEM, common core, geography of North America, I even pulled out the ipad and gave her a quick lesson on the Canadian provinces.  I think it was the fact that I had just come out of a week of amazing professional development that I was so open to the conversation that took place.  We have exchanged numbers and have texted back and forth already.  She goes home today, but I have one more US friend to look forward to sharing my classroom with.

Thank you Discovery Education for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this year’s Summer Institute.  


  1. Loved your reflection Mavis! So happy to have met you.

    I too had every intention of making it for DEN Fit but that never happened.

    Hopefully we can find something to connect with this year so we can meet again!

  2. Well said. It is hard to put it all into words, but you did a great job capturing the unique feeling of DENSI

  3. Excellent reflection Mavis. It was a pleasure to meet you. Keep changing the world!