Teachmeet: a new experience

I attended my first ever Teachmeet on Thursday last.  I’ve followed some of these on twitter in the past and  I’m constantly amazed at the wonderful people who present and at the ideas that are shared.  I had made a promise to myself to try to attend  a Teachmeet some day.

Teachmeets are just that; meetings of educators (and a librarian!) who share ideas, experiences and personal insights into things related to primary education.
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On Thursday night last I attended TeachmeetEast in Glencullen National School.  The theme of the evening was New Chapters in Education and a panel of almost 20 presenters were set to give a mixture of nano (2 minute) and macro (7 minute) presentations. In addition to these there were 4 ‘soapboxes’ spread around the room during the break.  You can visit the blog here and see a pdf of all the speakers and the topics they presented on here.

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There was an exciting buzz around the school with a varied and interesting agenda lined up so the evening was a success before it even started.  It was great to actually meet people that I had regularly interacted with on Twitter and to put names and faces to twitter avatars.  The event had been organised by Caitlin Ní Bhroinn,  @katz21 and Ciara Brennan, @primEdteacher.   I had met Ciara at a previous event but it was so nice to meet Caitlin in person.

I also met Mary Jo Bell who teaches in Shankill and was presenting on the subject of technology in the junior class.  I interact with Mary Jo, @7MJB,  and her class, MrsBellsClass  on my Summer Buzz account and really enjoyed meeting her in person.  Likewise I felt I really should know MaryBeau, @merrybeau1,  who tweets, 2ndClassR6,  and blogs with her second class from St Brigids in Greystones.  I had met some of the very dynamic team from @StPetersBray at a previous event and it was lovely to meet Ciara, @primEdteacher,  and Martina, @ceanntina, again.  I also met @groganbee for the first time. Bianca Grogan is a mine of information and inspiration and it was a real pleasure to meet her in person.  Her soap box session on the flipped classroom was wonderful and her 7 minutes of Madness was not nearly long enough.

A thrilling experiences  for me  was being introduced to other people as Maria and then watching their expressions change when it was explained that I was the tweeting bee @summerbuzz.  I do like that Bee.  

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There was lots of learning too though.  I enjoyed each and every one of the sessions.  Much of it was new to me.  I’d never heard of the Points for Life Progamme presented by Catherine Knight and Orla Howlan and was very taken with this new to me idea of physical literacy.  I loved the Rolling Numbers presentation by Terry Lynch (@treaLynch) which involves chanting and counting on fingers to re-inforce the learning of mutilplication and division tables.  Terry showed a video of the children in his class using this method and as I tweeted on the night, this was maths like I’ve never known.  Aongus Moloney also spoke on the subject of maths giving an excellent presentation about Mata sa Rang, a maths recovery programme. Check out their website www.mata.ie .

I presented on Tumblebooks, a free collection of online books and games available to all via the South Dublin Libraries website, www.southdublinlibraries.ie .  You can read my previous blog post  on Tumblebooks here.  I hope people enjoyed the 2 minutes.  I was a little in awe at the idea of presenting and had volunteered just a two minute presentation thinking this was an easier option.  It was not. In fact I found it incredibly difficult to keep to the two minute limit and would really prefer to have more time if I ever to it again.

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There were other speakers and lots of interesting ideas floating around. It was a wonderful experience for me and definitely something I’d love to do again.

So did attending a Teachmeet live up to my expectations? Yes, yes and yes again.  I had a wonderful night, met lots of interesting people and came away with lots of new ideas. Thanks so much to Caitlín and Ciara for organising. The sharing is wonderful.

The photos used in the post are from @teachmeet_east twitter account.  Unfortunately my phone was rapidly running out of battery and I made a decision not to take any photos.

The picture used in this post is from the TeachMeet East blog.

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