nErD Camp MI

July 11-12 in Parma, MI

Remember our awesome day of PD where we created our own sessions and attended whatever we wanted? Imagine creating and attending sessions with authors, teachers, librarians, and all those “Nerdy Book Club” gurus... at a FREE conference!*

Keep reading to learn more about my experience at Nerd Camp and how you can join in the fun.

*Travel expenses & hotel not included.

What is it? A FREE Two-day (Un)conference

Day 1 is like a regular conference with predetermined sessions with a range of topics for a variety of grade levels. (You can find the sessions they have so far here.) Simply choose a session and go to it. Not your style? Vote with your feet and leave early for something else (and, yes, it happens a lot).

Day 1 has something for almost everyone!

Day 2 is where we get to decide. Any conference attendee can suggest a session, and it is added to the schedule.

  • Have you heard about great things happening via Twitter?
  • Want to continue a conversation from the previous day?
  • Need book ideas or ways to integrate technology?

Suggest it!

If you don’t feel ready to suggest a session, choose from one of the other ones listed.

nErD Camp MI

Monday, July 11th, 9am to Tuesday, July 12th, 4pm

Western High School, 1400 S. Dearing Rd., Parma, Michigan, 49269

My Experience

Last summer, I spent most of my time in Lansing, Michigan, reading books, biking, and following people on Twitter. I kept hearing about Nerd Camp and I thought, "It's only about 40 minutes from here, it's free, and people will not stop mentioning it on Twitter. Why not?" Little did I know, Nerd Camp would be the best PD I have ever experienced (book or in person).

Never attending a conference (or unconference) before, I was so nervous. What do I wear? What do I bring? Is this going to be terrible because I don't know anyone? I was going on this journey alone.

On that Monday morning, I packed my teacher bag with iPad, phone, and a book (It IS a education conference, after all!) and set off for Western High School in Parma, which is basically the middle of nowhere. Imagine PVJH years ago with woods surrounding the area. When I finally got there, I took a deep breath and made my way inside, calmed by all the sidewalk drawings saying "Welcome to Nerd Camp!" and the colorful banner hanging from the entrance.

After waiting in line and striking up a conversation with the woman next to me, a seasoned kindergarten teacher who was also a Nerd Camp first-timer, I headed straight for the coffee booth with my new buddy. Then we made our way into the auditorium for the opening Nerd Talks. I listened to author Lisa Graff, a Parma elementary school principal dedicated to creating a culture of readers, and teachers such as Pernille Ripp, Ruth Ayres, and Donalyn Miller. Check out Pernille Ripp's opening speech below. (Via YouTube)

Pernille Ripp at Nerd Camp
The next two days were a blur of note-taking, meeting people, and adding to my Goodreads list. Personally, I was proud that I went outside my comfort zone and tried something completely new. Professionally, I felt reinvigorated. I learned so much about what other teachers across the country were doing in their own classrooms, and I couldn't wait to get back and try some of those ideas at Hopewell. I attended sessions on G.R.I.T., teaching empathy, March Book Madness, and more. Not only did I gain great teaching ideas, I discovered new book titles, new connections to other teachers, and met amazing authors.

If you would like to know more about which specific sessions I attended, I can (try) to share my notes with you, just let me know!

Nerd Camp inspired me to keep talking about books this year. I realized how easy it was to contact authors and connect with other teachers. I certainly feel my students benefited from my experience this year. The greatest impact to my class would have to be our author connections, many of whom I either met or heard at Nerd Camp. Those authors motivated the class to become better readers and writers. We, as a class, are excited about reading new books, and I love being a part of that community.

Join Me!

This year, I would love to have more Hopewell friends join me at Nerd Camp. My experience was centered around reading, but all areas of literacy (and technology) are discussed. People always say "you just have to be there," but this conference truly is indescribable.

I will be back in the Quad Cities July 8-10, and I'm planning on driving up to Parma on Sunday, July 10. I've already recruited a couple of people to attend Nerd Camp with me, but I encourage you to join us! We can add a couple people to our vehicle, or you can caravan with us. Typically, I make the trip to Michigan by myself, so the more company, the better. We would like to book hotel rooms before the end of the school year, so email me if you are interested.

To register, and for more information about all the Nerd Camp happenings, follow the link below.

Can't go, but want to know more? Follow @nErDCampMI and #nErDCampMI on Twitter.

Other Stuff at NerdCamp!

Most of the following events require a separate registration and/or costs money. Funds go toward Nerd Camp, Jr. where students work with authors & illustrators (see website above).

  • Most Likely to Succeed documentary (Sunday night) - free
  • NerdRun (5K) - entry fee
  • Nerdy Brunch (donation encouraged)
  • Nerdy Party (social dinner) - ticket covers food
  • Art auction - buy chances for illustrator artwork
  • Apparel - order ahead of time
  • Free stuff (books, stickers, bookmarks, an more)