Potlucks Grow My PLN

Last night I held a Potluck Planning Party at my place for some of my classmates from the Bachelor of Education program at UBC. All of us are English teacher candidates so we got together to enjoy some delicious food and talk about our upcoming practicums. It was great to get together outside of school and meet in a relaxed, casual atmosphere.

The idea started at one of our meetings with our Faculty Advisor. We discovered that everyone at the meeting was teaching at least one Shakespeare play, so our FA arranged for us to get together after school and order to pizza so he could give us tips and resources for teaching Shakespeare. It ended up being a feast with with gourmet pizza, salad, and frozen yogurt. We had to do it again, so we decided to plan a potluck!

Last night we finally brought our planning potluck idea to fruition. Everyone contributed something different to our potluck, and not a single person brought the usual crackers and cheese or veggies and dip. We ate for about an hour and a half, all the while discussing what we were teaching, what our Sponsor Teachers had said to us when we met them on Monday, and what we had to do the following week. Some of the teacher candidates mentioned the field trips they were taking their students on and another shared with us the encouraging feedback she got from her SA. It was really interesting to hear everyone’s experiences and it gave us a chance to share our concerns and/or excitement about the practicum.

We finally left the kitchen  and went to the dinning room table to get to work on our computers. We shared resources, websites, Youtube clips, lesson plan ideas, and made arrangements to meet up with others who are teaching the same units.

One teacher candidate shared the extremely useful BC Ministry of Education PLO Searchable Database. It makes me wonder why no one had shared this with us before?!

All in all, it was a great night. Perhaps we didn’t get quite as much planning done as we could have, but there was still value in our conversations and it is important that we had them. I feel more capable of handling everything I need to do in the coming days because I know I have a strong support system from my teacher candidate PLN.

We hope to get together again after a couple of weeks in our practicums to see where everyone is at. I know this group will help me greatly in my professional (and personal) development.

Each of us showed up with our MacBook or MacBook Pro and we took this photo using the built-in web cam on one of them. We think we should apply for sponsorship from Apple. What do you think?

How does your PLN support you? What have you found has been the most productive way to share ideas?

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4 comments

  1. Sachie Motohashi

    So great to hear about all that is going on with BEd students at UBC!
    I remember my time at UBC was full of discussion and collaboration with others and felt very supported from other classmates. (And I also remember all of the Macs!)
    I really encourage you to keep connected with everyone that you undergo this experience with as it truly serves as a great support network after everyone graduates. Although a 1 year program is short, because it is so intensive, you truly find great comrades that share a same vision.

  2. Potlucks are a great way to keep connected with your colleagues. I’m still doing them 8 years in, and I hope to keep them going for ages.

    The Twitter version of a potluck is called a “Tweet-up” and it is super valuable. The face to face meetings we so infrequently have as educators are still among the most valuable interactions.

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