Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy

The Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, also lovingly known as MEMTA.
What an AMAZING experience!  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that it was the best professional development of my teaching career!

You need to apply to attend the Teachers Academy in Jersey City - over 1500 teachers applied and 150 were accepted.  It felt like I won the lottery! Airfare, hotel, food, classes - all-expenses paid!

I arrived in Jersey City late Sunday afternoon.  The hotel is on the water with a stunning view of the NYC skyline.  The room was fabulous.  And all to myself!  We collected a big bag of swag and then had our first reception.  Cocktails and appetizers at the waterfront outdoor deck and a chance to mingle with teachers from all 50 states and then onto dinner.  Feeling like a VIP.
The view from my room!

Our days start early, breakfast at 7 at the Liberty Science Center.  We had to ride the NJ Transit Light Rail to the Science Center - it's about a 10 minute ride - what a fun commute!

Traveling to Liberty Science Center!

I learned so much in my 5 days that it's impossible to share it all with you in one post.  I plan to blog about the lessons and activities as I use them in my classroom.  They did give us a lot of food for thought and some fantastic instructors.  All of our activities were done using the 5E cycle - the 5 E's stand for: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate.  Now, I've heard of this instructional model before and have actually used it from time to time.  We learned how kids really learn and how to best reach ALL kids - they really need to EXPLORE first, before you explain to them the why's and the how's of what is happening.   When you think about how YOU yourself best learn something new, what really works for you?  Do you learn how to ride a bike because someone told you how to?  Or do you learn by trial and error?  How we learn best is by trial and error - making mistakes and learning from them.  MISTAKES are proof that you are learning.  It may be something you've heard before, but to put into my daily instructional practice will profoundly change the way I teach my students this year.  I expect that with this model, I'll learn as much as my students!
Stay tuned for more!  And I'll leave you with my favorite selfie:

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