Saturday, November 24, 2018

Keeping the Wonder Workshop at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum


When I first dreamed up the idea of hosting a workshop for secondary English literature teachers, I envisioned how beautiful the venue would be, how inspiring the presenters would be, and how relieved I would be once it was over. HA! Well, my partners in wonder had other plans because the minute our first Keeping the Wonder Workshop ended, they started asking when we could do it again!

While I knew that our first location would be hard to beat, I wanted to choose a different location for the fall so that other ELA teachers would have a chance to attend. The first venue that came to mind as I was brainstorming locations for October was The Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, VA.  I had made a stop here on a road trip to NYC the summer before and knew it would meet the spooky and wonder-filled requirements for our second Keeping the Wonder Workshop.


It didn't disappoint. The museum itself is full of unique and macabre items that Poe would be so very proud of, and we used this vibe to set the tone for our content and decor.



When our attendees arrived, they each got a raven feather with a little get-to-know-you activity which later turned into a fun POE-to op. Upon request, I tweaked this activity so that it can be used when teaching "The Raven."


After mingling with other English teachers, we heard from Abby Gross on how she uses stations in her English class broke into stations set up around the museum.


Our Stations Included:
 Station 1 Mock trial information and ideas
 Station 2 Using picture books in secondary ELA
 Station 3 Setting up a successful question trail
 Station 4 Content-connected creative writing
 Station 5 Cross-curricular magic
 Station 6 Blackout poetry with depth 


After our stations, we broke into our main presentations for the event and heard from Jenna Copper as she delivered a tone writing presentation, Staci Lamb as she spoke about the bringing the magic to your secondary ELA classroom, and a Poe expert as he performed "A Tell-Tale Heart" and conducted an interactive mock trial. The Poe Museum offers educational programs like this one as well as field trip opportunities, so check that out here: Poe Museum Resources 
After the sessions, we ended the day with an "Escape The Museum" breakout which demonstrated how ELA teachers can use escape rooms to engage their students with challenging content. 


We ended the day of inspiration with an "Unhappy Hour Unconference" where we toasted to Poe and collaborated with English teachers from all around the country. I'm truly in awe of the passionate teachers who showed up with happy hearts, big smiles, and open minds. Cheers to English teachers! 


Here is some feedback we received from our exit ticket: 

"This workshop was well-planned, engaging, and executed. The fact that it was held in such a unique literary environment was just icing on the cake. It is important for teachers to take part in or complete the same activities they assign their students, and this workshop reinforced this idea. Attendees were able to "be students" while moving through stations, tasks, and lessons. This allows us, as teachers, a very different perspective and reminds us to create assignments with our students in mind. The presenters spent ample time ensuring that all attendees were able to walk away with lessons and ideas they could implement in their classrooms almost immediately. Great job, ladies."

"I've never been excited for a PD day... until now! I found myself counting down the days (and who does that for PD?!) until the workshop! All of the presenters brought such passion to their materials, which inspired everyone to implement their ideas in our own classrooms. The kids' worlds are ever-changing, and we need to adapt to fit their worlds. The materials and ideas presented to us allows us to do just that."

"I absolutely loved every aspect of this workshop. Definitely worth the trip from California! The attention to detail, professionalism, ambiance, and the engaging (yet practical) strategies taught by practitioners (and IG Allstars😊) were all invaluable aspect of this workshop. I look eagerly look forward to attending future workshops with to learn new ideas/concepts! Thank you all for your willingness to share your expertise 💛"

"Loved the cross-curricular aspect (history + literature)-- especially the focus on Edgar Allan Poe in October! 
  Seeing my Instagram inspirations in person was a fantastic opportunity to learn from them, network with them, and appreciate them as real-life human beings. They were so down to earth and encouraging! I feel like I am supported by fellow teachers across America and that I am truly not alone."

"The workshop was by far the best PD I've attended. The presenters and helpers were all positive, energetic, and passionate. The activities were fun and informative, and I feel like I'm returning to school with lots of ideas that will be successful with my students."

"There isn't enough space to fully gush about how engaging this workshop was! So many user-friendly resources! As much as we love your Instagram stories, it helps to hear the information "live". I kept texting my principal during the workshop to tell her how excited I was to implement all these wonderful ideas! I had to pay out of pocket because I work at an inner-city school, but I'd do it again! Great job, ladies! You are individually creative and collectively dynamic! Perfect venue--as if I couldn't love Poe more!"

"Having worked for years in an environment in which "fun" in a high school classroom meant no real learning occurred, it is nice to be around colleagues who share a passion for using teaching methods that do not always fit the expectations of a "typical" high school English classroom. Thanks so much for the opportunity!"

"I think this conference was so great because it was made by teachers who are still in the classroom. Too often I’ve been required to go to conferences that are run by administrators and others who have forgotten what it’s like to be a teacher. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a meeting about “think, pair, share.” We get it. This conference gave me something new and fun to use in my classroom. Thank you."

"This was AMAZING! I have been following all of you on Instagram for a while and have been so inspired by your enthusiasm and love for what you do. I feel so grateful to be able to attend the workshop and learn from you all. It was inspiring, engaging, and so refreshing to attend a PD that was catered to secondary ELA teachers and led by teachers!! This was the best and I hope to attend again in the future!! :)"

Wow! My heart could burst from re-reading these testimonials. I believe that so much of the mindset about teaching is formed by whom you choose to surround yourself with, and I'm so very thankful to those who chose to show up with passionate hearts and open minds. We all left feeling inspired more than words can describe! 

I'm also extremely thankful for the companies who sent gifts for us to use as giveaways at our workshop. We displayed these amazing gifts throughout the event and gave prizes to the lucky winners before saying goodbye.


These prizes were gorgeous and fit perfectly with our literary theme! 











Our matching "Raven Wing" earrings were designed by Raining Grade Jewelry and my Poe Necklace is by Adornments SVB  



Be sure to follow us on Instagram to find updates on our next Keeping the Wonder Workshop!