Sunday, December 14, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Skokie Library,  5215 Oakton

Those who attended this year’s JED Camp for Educators enjoyed the opportunity to name a subject of interest to them and informally discuss with fellow educators who shared their interest.  Subjects ranged from classroom motivational techniques, difficulties in connecting American children with Israel, to creative teaching ideas for specific content areas.  Any subject within the realm of Jewish education is fair game.

We now invite you to attend an extension session on December 14, to brainstorm ideas for 5 more sessions between January and May.  Each session will last 2 hours and will be facilitated by the person who suggested the topic for the day. 

We want YOU to contribute and share your experience, concerns, and interests. We promise snacks, lively feedback and opportunity for growth and we look forward to seeing you on December 14!

Or at least we will be! Thanks in part to a grant from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, the second JEDcamp Midwest will be held on October 19th at Solomon Schechter Day School from noon until 4:00 pm. Like last year, registration is free and includes a Kosher lunch.

Want to to get involved in planning and marketing this awesome event? Let us know in the comment area.

See you then!

Creating the sessions board
Creating the sessions board

The evaluations are starting to roll in and it appears that JEDcamp Midwest was a fabulous first step in what we hope will become an annual event. There’s that moment, when I plan an event, when people begin to arrive that I start to panic… “OMG… they’re really here…” Well, they registered, they came, they participated and they got something out of it!

Our last session of the day was pretty much an informal evaluation and a chance to generate some ideas for the next time. There was a good assortment of people at that session including Conservative and Orthodox day school teachers, Reform religious school principals, and JEDcamp committee members. We talked about how JEDcamp can connect the very distinct silos in Chicago and give us a chance to share with one another. We talked about potential venues that would appeal to the greatest number of people from every geographic area, all movements and teaching settings.


Some of the take aways were:

1. An hour was too long for some sessions, but we worried that if we only allocated thirty minutes, it wouldn’t have been long enough. A possible solution would be to have sessions start at both the hour and the half hour, but stagger the rooms so that if a session ran for more than thirty minutes it would be okay.


2. Start after lunch so religious school teachers could participate fully. My concern with that is that I  worry that, after they’ve taught all morning, religious school teachers will still bail at 2:00. We talked about finding a time in August before religious school begins, but those Sundays are precious to day school teachers. This is a tough one.

3. We tried to come up with some kind of track system where people could designate if the topic they’re posing is (a) a conversation they want to have or (b) a skill they want to share. We agreed that both are critical, but that we’d like to have a way to determine that.

Overall, though, the day was a success and we’re proud of what we accomplished.


Session schedule – what we ended up offering


We can’t wait for Sunday! This whiteboard will be magically transformed into a grid for sessions, name tags will be waiting, food will be delivered!


The session grid will be online starting at 9:00 am Sunday – check it out if you want to see what fascinating topics we’re exploring.

So I was stalking look at some other EDcamp websites and I see that they use brainstorming docs to begin to generate the topics they’ll be covering. I created one and I’d love to see you add your thoughts to it! Please add topics you’re interested in discussing or things you’d like to learn. And be sure to add the topics in which you have some expertise!

Why is there no list of presenters? And no keynote?

Nope – no presenters. No keynote. No passive listening…

JEDcamp is about conversations. Attendees propose topics about which they want to talk, post them on a grid, and interesting conversations ensue. It’s that simple.edcamp-philly

I teach religious school – how can I still participate?

It’s true that JEDcamp starts at 9:00 with registration, but we’re going until 3:00 pm, so religious school teachers can still participate. Let us know that you’ll be getting there after noon, and we’ll even be sure to hold lunch for you.

Lunch? You’re feeding us?

YES! Lunch is included in the fee you’re not paying to attend! We’re providing a free, kosher lunch (veggie, tuna or egg salad). Um… and there will be snacks too. Wonderful snacks!

Do I really have to pre-register?

YES! Go to our registration site to register – right now! Tickets are free, but we want to keep our number to a manageable level, so you need a ticket to attend. And, when you register, you’ll order your lunch, so we know how much food to order.

I don’t teach in a school – is JEDcamp for informal educators? Or people who teach adults?

YES! JEDcamp is for all Jewish educators and all educators who teach in Jewish settings, regardless of movement affiliation or ages taught.

Can I get continuing ed credit for attending?

We’re not a licensing organization, so we can’t guarantee continuing ed credit – that’s between you and your institution. But we’ll be happy to get you a certificate of attendance.

What a great idea? Did you think of it?

No, we stole it. Earlier this year, some folks got together to create the first JEDcamp in South Florida. They didn’t invent it, either, JEDcamp is patterned after EDcamp, which has been going on for some time. Check out the video from the first JEDcamp:

How can all this be free? Lunch, snacks and a free conference?

We’re able to offer this through the generosity of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. How cool is that?

Any other reason I should attend?

Yes… two more. Each attendee (regardless of time spent at JEDcamp) will be entered into a raffle for an iPad. And then we’ll be raffling off another iPad among the attendees who return evaluation forms. Attend JEDcamp and you have a magnificent chance to win an iPad!