Reactions to Summercore 2011 from
A Variety of Alums
It is now several years after we started our first few years of focusing on Web 2.0 as a central theme of Summercore.
- Brett Mershon, Dean/Language Arts Teacher from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "This was an awesome opportunity! I feel overwhelmed but eager to try all sorts of new techniques moving forward! THANK YOU A THOUSAND TIMES OVER!! (Yes, I am shouting)"
- Elise Smith, Kindergarten Teacher from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "I loved being able to work at a pace that was comfortable to me on any given task on any given dau and not being locked in. The Summercore Primer will be on a shelf very close to my desk in my classroom at GSB. It will be soooooooooo useful! Having most of the day devoted to preparing allowed us to make mistakes, redo, add to, and ask for the help we needed or search for a tutorial and feel confident in our ability to teach what we would be presenting to others. I enjoyed visiting the other carnival booths and seeing the excitement as the other presenters taught us about their speciality. I felt confident and comfortable and empowered! This was a great way to see and learn a lot! Life-changing! Empowering! Challenging and fun at the same time. I laughed, I cried, I learned soooo very much!"
- Hope Preston, Lower School Librarian from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "You both know how valuable the computer/web 2.0 learning was, but in addition, getting to know teachers from the other divisions was very meaningful for me."
- Jamel Keels, Third Grade Teacher & Director of Afterschool Programs from Waterside School CT: "I found the first day to be overwhelming, however as the week progressed I slowly yet surely began to see and feel my skill set improve. The Summercore Primer will remain on my desk at work throughout the year. It's very easy to follow and is filled with a wealth of information. In addition to visiting a variety of different carnival booths, I enjoyed being forced to explain and teach about what I created."
- Jane Boyer, Associate Director of Admissions from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "I felt that the pace was good for everyone and that a person could change mid-stream It is like having a teacher with you all the time. It went so fast. It has been a long time since I worked that many hours on 1 task. This has been an unforgettable week and one that has dragged me out of my comfort zone. Humanware is THE most important part of technology."
- Janet Powell, US French Teacher from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "Summercore is keeping me up at night. I felt energized and grateful for completing something from start to finish."
- John Taeschler, Science Teacher from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "The use of different media, the depth of the knowledge of Steve and Lynne and the exposure to the many facets of technology was mind-boggling. The Summercore Primer was one of the most useful books I've ever read. It is easy to read, well organized, encyclopedic, and entertaining. The Carnival Preparation Day has been the most engaging six hours learning iIve spent in a long time; the time flew by as our skills accumulated. The team collaboration is so much more pleasant. Again, thanks for the excellent organization. The format of the carnival made learning some of the more difficult and cursorily presented topics both fun and meaningful. Summercore is mind-blowing -- the hardest thing I've ever had the fun of doing. You guys rock harder than google docs. I never expected to learn so much and feel so good about the concepts, again thanks to your peerless presentation and organization. Advice to others? RUN -- don't walk -- to take this course. It could change your life."
Joyce Tsang Kindergarten teacher from The School at Columbia, NYC: "As Katy Garstide (and others) have said, "It is the best PD ever." There was a balance of discussion and practice, patient teachers and differentiation to students' comfort and skill levels."
- Karen Loder, Director of Admissons from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "I liked the slower pace of JV. I will carry the Summercore Primer with me wherever I go. Invaluable. Mostly admired the spirit and creativity of the teachers. Summerore was fun, provocative, informative, inspiring, intimidating, but mostly fun."
Laura Bishop, Librarian from Claremont Preparatory School: "I found Summercore extremely helpful on so many levels. I feel more confident about trying out or playing with web 2.0 programs/apps. A lot of stuff was demystified for me this week, which is a nice feeling."
Laura Lazarus, Kindergarten Teacher from The Town School:
"Come in with an open-mind and embrace the marathon that is Summercore. There is always going to be more information to learn, but if you come in knowing that you will gain at least a few ideas for your classroom, then you will enjoy the process as much as I did. Don't be afraid to try something, fail at it, and try again. And don't mention the Yankees. I want to come back! I think every educator needs to come to Summercore. There is SO much covered but you can walk away with actual ideas of what to do/where to begin. Sometimes workshops offer too much theory and not enough actual ideas or plans. At Summercore, you can actually learn information that you can immediately implement and bring back to your school. I even think non-educators could find Summercore useful. It's a Bible!I will use this ALL the time and share (with permission) with my co-teachers. Reading pieces of it throughout the week was helpful to support what we had learned or practiced during the day. The carnival is really useful because I was able to learn from my co-participants. The carnival style allows for an interactive approach where I could ask questions and play with the material. It was really fun to see what people were able to do with all the different ideas and programs."
- Len Grabowski, Physics Teacher from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "Thanks for being non-judgmental. It really helped! Really appreciated Steve saying, among other gems, that Larry Bird had to prepare to be good, that we have to be honest. It was a link between the sometimes impersonal world of the computer and a world that I understand -- the world in which people care for others because it is right and good. Really appreciated Lynne's ability to understand, answer questions, and the depth of her technical knowledge. Both of you made me feel at home. Thank you."
Lindsay Fasano. 2nd Grade Assistant Teacher from Horace Mann School:
"Follow your curiosity and make sure to go out of your comfort zone!!! Summercore was amazing. Super inspiring. I said in the beginning that the reason why I signed up was because I learned about Moodle and realized there was so much I didn't know. Now, as I finish Summercore, I still feel as if there is still so much I don't know! But in a good way! I learned so much this week! I need to constantly learn about new technology, whether it be once a year or even more often than that. I am interested in learning where and how I can do this. The Summercore Primer is an amazing reference I know will be useful to me for the next school year."
Lionel Garrison, Math Dept & Academic Center, Horace Mann School:
"I attend lots of conferences every year, including other week-long ones. But I've never learned so much really useful and important stuff in a single week before. Thank you!"
- Lisa Schwartzburg Grade 5 Humanities Teacher from Packer Collegiate Institute:
"Regardless of your current (real or perceived) level, GO to Summercore! I think it was fabulous and I think the three of you are fabulous! I appreciate the fact that you brought the same patience and enthusiasm to the experience of the novice learners that you did to the more seasoned pros. I wish you'd consider one or two Saturday conferences during the school year -- or even a professional development day during the week for teachers and administrators. I love the organization of it -- and the accessible, conversational tone."
- Lynn Prosen, Lower School Science Teacher from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "I came in with a familiarity with many different programs that were covered, but the collaborative work with the school community and the extra tips makes this an OUTSTANDING program. The practice time, the focus on process, and the four eyes idea make the work time very productive. It was ALL good! It is wonderful to have a resource that covers so very much. Even though so much is available online, it is good to have a paper-pencil resource to grab from the shelf. Time. It is the real enemy of teachers during the school year. There is never enough of it. The opportunity to sit and concentrate on one topic was something that we rarely have the opportunity to do. Having a focused task and time to work on it with a partner was very powerful. The most beneficial thing was time to work with the rotating help. It was wonderful to see so many ideas. The opportunity to share new skills helps to cement the concepts. Outstanding. Working together as a school community was an outstanding experience. Thank you!!"
Marian White, Grade 4 language arts teacher and Summercore Alum from Horace Mann School teacher:
"Enjoy the challenges and expect the amazing. What a terrific way of exploring technology. It's extremely challenging and demanding, but presented in the most constructive context of community and positive expectation. Clearly you are true teachers, and your message about being willing to explore and make mistakes allows even the most daunting task to feel possible. Thanks! The Summercore Primer was fantastic and filled with human insights to balance the details and technical elements."
Mariana Casanova, Lower schoolteacher from Greenwich Academy CT:
"Clear your calendar for the week (including evenings to practice at home what you covered during the day). Loved Summercore, learned so much -- about technology and sports :) -- and want to come back for more."
Meaghan Slattery, Technology Integrationist and Computer Science Teacher from Convent of the Sacred Heart, NYC:
"Come in with your most open mind and with your highest hopes because they will be met and actually surpassed. I truly felt like Summercore was an entertaining, engaging, informative, and awesome professional development course. The week went by so fast, which means to me that I was always busy and never bored. I learned so much, met new people, shared ideas, and just felt great at the end of each day. I loved all of the glossary type sections of specific skill sets/definitions. The Summercore Primer is an awesome resource. I also love your sense of humor incorporated throughout. Even with Carnival booths that showed things I had used previously, it was nice to watch the instructors share how they worked through kinks and tell how they would use in the educational setting."
Melissa Salmon Emma Willard School Residential Faculty I live in the dorms and work with girls 12-Sep grades
"If you are a teacher, you should attend Summercore no matter how proficient you are technologically. I'd come back next year. It is exciting to think that Emma Willard could possibly be a site for a Summercore week. That would be great for the faculty."
- Mike Chimes, Director of Academic Technology from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "I believe it was very useful for both groups based on conversations and personal experience. The Summercore Primer is the Mother of all Help Guides. Great to have a significant block of time to work independently as a small group overall, it's a "10" program. I feel like I've learned a lot, had some fun and feel a jolt of inspiration/energy moving forward."
- Robert Orr, Math Teacher from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "I also liked the time we spent together, but splitting us up often meant more individual time with instructors. Also, it was helpful that we could choose the pace (V or JV). The Primer is an outstanding book that I will be using often. I often study and learn better on my own, but in this case it was helpful to be learning with others. We were able to help each other, and the collegiality was great. This was, without question, the best professional growth experience I've ever had (and I've participated in a lot after nearly 40 years in education). Usually you come away from professional growth workshops with a good idea or two, but this one was packed full of ideas and new information. Also, Steve and Lynne kept it moving along at a brisk pace throughout the week, so the week passed quickly. Finally, it was fun! You were great models for great teaching. Be prepared for an intense week, but it's totally worth it!"
Sid Rowell, Headmaster from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "It was good to have folks self select. The Summercore Primer is a great living document--what our schools need instead of Lawrenceville Press stuff. I selected a difficult task, but stayed with it, and Steve stayed with me. The support and encouragement from all was invaluable. I was amazed by the talent and creativity of my faculty. They were awesome. Great program, I would recommend it to any/every school. I would also do it again here at GSB for another group of our faculty. GoogleDocs Rock!"
- Sue Rankin, Grade 1 Teacher from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "What an AWESOME course... fun fun fun and so informative I will use it as my tech Bible! Very intense and exhausting but also very rewarding! I had a GREAT feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day! It was great to work collaboratively with other teachers and to be able to really hone my skills on one particular piece of technology Scared at first but now very energized and just a little scared now that I will forget what I learned!"
- Tracey Roberts, Grade 4 Teacher from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "I liked very much being able to be JV in a skill I have never learned and Varsity in a skill I felt fairly proficient with but wanted to go further. I loved just being able to "play" all day and have Steve and Lynne right there to help me when I got stuck. I liked being able to see what others had learned. Summercore was lively and entertaining along with being unbelievably informative."
- Vinnie Caporusso, Spanish Teacher from Gill St. Bernard (NJ): "I would have been overwhelmed in the varsity group. The JV group was comfortable and moved at a good pace. I loved working with colleagues and just taking risks to get where we needed to be. We learned so much and I am glad that we did this in the summer; it will give us some time to process and to work with different websites/programs before the school year begins."