Solving October Stress: #FallCUE

My feelings towards October.
October is always a fun month; please note the sarcasm. Its the first month without any breaks or three-day weekends (at least in my district), the start of cold/flu season, and grades are due for the end of the first quarter. On top of that, I was also in the middle of my first semester of my Master's program, the new advisor for both CSF and NHS, and planning my #googleEI project that is scheduled for November. By the end of the month, I was stressed, exhausted, and completely drained, like so many teachers around the country.

Unlike Octobers in the past, I got to finish the month by attending and presenting at #FallCUE up in American Canyon, CA.  I didn't have much time to get pumped and excited for the conference so I went up with my to do list weighing me down. But once the conference began, I immediately forgot about my stress and became re-energized by collaborating and sharing ideas with educators around the state.

My highlights from #FallCUE
There were so many incredible experiences at #FallCUE

I got to present about Project-Based Learning with GAFE!
I got to have mini-reunions with my #COL16 family as well as others in my #googleEI and #cvcue family!

I got to meet and hang-out with some incredible educators!
But the highlight of the entire conference was finally learning about and experiencing Iron Chef lessons with David Platt and Jon Corippo. Basically, an Iron Chef lesson is a modernized jigsaw activity that is high-energy, collaborative, and incredibly memorable; you can learn more here and here from the Master. During David Platt's session, I got to experience a lesson myself and it was everything they described.

So naturally...I did it my next day back in the classroom. With my freshmen, we were working on life skills, particularly budgeting. The next step was to discuss budgeting for transportation, which can be complicated for many students if they are unfamiliar with cars. So I made an Iron Chef lesson that would help students learn about everything that goes into a car:

In every single class, it was a success. Student learning tripled with this hands-on and engaging jigsaw and every single student participated. It was so successful, in fact, that I ended up doing it with my sophomores and their disease PBL. 

If I had chosen not to attend #FallCUE, I'm sure I would still be feeling stressed and drained, but instead I feel re-energized, excited, and eager to find even more ways to increase the effectiveness of my classroom. I think I found a way to make my future Octobers one of my favorite months :)


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