The Why, What, and How to run a PHYSedcamp & Demo Slam

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The Why, What, and How to run a #PHYSedcamp and Demo Slam

Wow!  The first ever PHYSedcamp!  What’s a PHYSedcamp?  Well it’s just like an edcamp, but just for health and physical educators.  It’s been a goal of our team to put a on a PHYSedcamp since the summer of 2014.  The whole idea of the #PhysEdSummit came from the idea of having a PHYSedcamp, but we believed that it wouldn’t be possible, because our team lives in North Carolina, Maryland, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Oregon.  Well it wasn’t possible until we all met this past weekend at the National PE Institute.

#PHYSedcamp Team At The National PE Institute 2015

#PHYSedcamp Team At The National PE Institute 2015

We decided that since the team was all going to the National PE Institute, then we should plan the first ever #PHYSedcamp….so that’s what we did.  We want to give you all the details that we used, so if you want to take the model and try it at another conference, convention, or even for your school professional development day, then you can do that!

First off, the planning is simple!  Start with your schedule.  How much time do you have?  Take into consideration how many people might be there, sessions pitched, and how long you want it to be.  You usually can’t plan for all these things until the time of the PHYSedcamp.  Here was the schedule we developed based on the day, participants, and length of time we wanted.  We ended our PHYSedcamp with a Demo Slam, and that was like the grand finale of the firework show.  This is not a part of an edcamp, but it is something that we really wanted to do.  We will take you through the steps to creating your own Demo Slam at the end of this post.

Session Schedule

Session Schedule

Lets get to the details on how we set it up:

The “Anatomy” of a PHYSedcamp

1. Session Pitch – we gave 15-20 minutes for participants to walk around and decide what session to pitch. If they wanted to present / facilitate a session they wrote it in one square on a whiteboard.

Session Pitch Board

Session Pitch Board

2.  Gallery Walk- After the session were pitched, we began to let all PHYSedcamp participants walk around and see all the sessions that were pitched.  We then had them place a tally mark on the sessions that they really wanted to attend.  This helped us select what sessions went where.

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3. Setting the Schedule – We began setting the schedule when the participants were doing a gallery walk.  We began to see what sessions were begin selected more than others.  This helped  us place them in session 1 or 2.  We also looked to see if they were active sessions or discussions.  We had 5 active rooms ready and 5 classrooms ready for discussion.  We projected this schedule on the board, and shared it with the participants by making a bitly short code.

Session Schedule

Session Schedule

4. Session #1 Description – Once the schedule was set for session #1, then the participant’s pitches that were selected came to the front to give a 3o second session description.  This gave our participants an idea of what the session would be on.

5.  Session #1 – Participants went to session #1.  They were reminded that they could vote with their feet and walk out of their session if it wasn’t giving them what they wanted.  You can always go to another session.

***The National PE Institute had about 450 attendeed, and about 100 of them stayed for the first session of the PHYSedcamp

6. Session #2 Description – Everyone returned to the gym after session #1 finished.  We provided them with a snack.  Once the schedule was set for session #2, then the participant’s pitches that were selected came to the front to give a 3o second session description.  This gave our participants an idea of what the session would be on (just like session #1).

7.  Session #2 – Participants went to session #2.  They were reminded that they could vote with their feet and walk out of their session if it wasn’t giving them what they wanted.  You can always go to another session (just like session #1).

***This time we had about 80 participants (we believe they everyone was getting pretty hungry and tired).  Still an awesome number.

Here is a quick overview of some sessions.  Some sessions were big and some sessions were small, but everyone learned a lot from each sessions.  Some were more presentations where the participants could ask many questions, and some were full out discussions were everyone gave input.  Every session was awesome!

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Demo Slam

The setup was as easy as having a projector ready and make a circle with the participants.  Participants were asked to come to the middle of the circle. Once there participants were told to they could volunteer to teach anything they wanted for 2 minutes.  It could be technology or an active session. The demo presenter wants to finish before the two minutes are up, or everyone gets to slam them.  After their demo, we had a live podcast going and they were asked to explain their demo slam and talk a little bit about the PHYSedcamp.  You can listen to that recording of The PHYSEDagogy Podcast here.

***We had about 50 participants rocking the gym during the Demo Slam!

That’s it.  Let us know what you think and please let us know if you try to implement a PHYSedcamp or Demo Slam at your conference, convention, workshop, or school PD day.  We would love to know how it went.  Best of luck!

8 Comments on “The Why, What, and How to run a PHYSedcamp & Demo Slam

    • Thanks Ben. We had a blast too! Glad you picked up quite a few ideas and you are right, the collaboration was amazing! Can’t wait for #PEInstitute16

  1. Thanks for posting this Matt. Just yesterday I proposed to a group of great physical educators here in Colorado we use this same model for a multi-district professional development in October. I really appreciate this post because I will use it as the model to walk us through our edcamp. Great payoff for all of your hard work…..exponential impact!

    • Thanks for your comment! It’s exciting to hear that you will use the PHYSedcamp model for professional development. It is amazing because it empowers everyone to present or facilitate and the topics are important for everyone, because it’s what they want to learn. One of the things our group was most excited about was that others wanted to take it back to their states / districts. That was cool, because the effect of the PHYSedcamp continues to spread! Thank you so much!

  2. I love the edcamp model and was bummed I was not at the National PE Institute to be a part of this. Edcamp for professional development is so effective and when we had a professional development day at my school a few years back using this model it was one of the most beneficial and engaging PD days for everyone. Faculty still talk about that PD day years later. Glad you are getting PE in on the action.

    • Betty thanks for your comment! We appreciate your feedback. We did an edcamp model PD day at our school too and most teachers really enjoyed it! We wish you could have been at the National PE Institute too. It was really fun to be able to run the first ever PHYSedamp! The participants were amazing and everyone learned so much from the experience! I hope more schools, districts, state conferences, and conventions will begin to offer them. It’s such an amazing learning experience for everyone involved!

  3. Pingback: The PE Playbook – August 2015 Edition | drowningintheshallow

  4. Pingback: The #PhysEd Podcast #015 – ThePhysicalEducator.com

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