igKnight Summer Sandbox

Kick your shoes off and come play in the sandbox with us!

The igKnight Summer Sandbox is a two-day "unconference" for educators of all ages, all subjects, and all schools— to learn about and share best practices in innovative teaching. Teachers from all over the greater Washington, D.C. area (and beyond) are warmly invited to join us at Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia as we connect, collaborate, and brainstorm together for a game-changing approach to PD.

Topics will include gamification, technology integration, book tastings, experiential learning, flipping the classroom, project based learning, microbadging and microcredentials, social media, alternative assessments, 21st century research and writing and much, much more. And since great teaching transcends the boundaries of specific subject, educators, teaching support staff, and school administrators from all content areas, grade levels, and school types (Catholic, public, and private!) are enthusiastically encouraged to join in the fun!

The igKnight program is celebrating its fifth year in 2019, and we can't wait to welcome you (or welcome you back) to the best professional development opportunity around!

What is the Summer Sandbox?

Two days of laid back professional development for teachers from any grade, school, or content area. T shirts, shorts and flip flops are okay with us! This is your chance to roll up your sleeves in a relaxed environment where teachers get to "play in the sandbox" by taking a slew of new pedagogical approaches for a spin.

We'll feed you. We'll play a few games. And we'll help you splash into summer break with a bucket full of innovative teaching ideas that you can take back to your classroom and make an immediate impact in your instruction FROM THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR.

When is the Summer Sandbox?

The igKnight Summer Sandbox will be open TWICE this summer. Both sessions will take place over two days, with events scheduled from 8 am to 3 pm, and breakfast and lunch will be provided on each day of the conference.

Wednesday, June 26 - Thursday, June 27

Tuesday, July 30 - Wednesday, July 31

All sessions will be held at:

Bishop O'Connell High School

6600 Little Falls Road

Arlington, VA 22213

What does the Summer Sandbox look like?

Imagine a "game night" with a dozen or two of your closest friends. Snacks. Socializing. And lots of laughter as we enjoy the joy of collaboration and some friendly competition along the way.

Only we're not playing Monopoly -- we're taking game-changing approaches to student engagement, with two full days of hands-on "playtesting" for pedagogical techniques designed to help teachers create a more student-centered classroom for any course or content area. That means no lectures and plenty of practice time to provide actionable strategies that teachers can scaffold and scale for ANY grade level from littles through middle through high school and beyond!

Here's just a few items on our summer sandbox menu:

  • Blackout Poetry
  • Bracketology
  • Breakout EDU
  • Book Tastings
  • Clothespin Bumper Cars
  • Coggle
  • Digital Escape Rooms
  • EdPuzzle
  • #EggDashChallenge
  • Equity Maps
  • Facebook Word Walls
  • Fantasy Football
  • Floor is Lava
  • Flipgrid
  • Fortnite Loot Llamas
  • Foursquare Showdown
  • Gimkit
  • GeoGuessr
  • #Hashtag Hunts
  • Interval Race Relay
  • Jenga
  • Jigsaw Keepaway
  • Kami
  • King of the Hill
  • LEGO Design Challenges
  • Marshmallow Challenge
  • Mentimeter
  • Microlab
  • Minecraft
  • Mr. Potato Head PDSA
  • No Red Lights Rubrics
  • Padlet
  • PBL with Google Sites
  • Personal Record Rubrics
  • Plickers
  • #QRBreakIN
  • Quizizz
  • Rory's Story Cubes
  • Sketchnotes
  • Snake Oil
  • Social Media Smackdown
  • StoriumEDU
  • Text Quest
  • The Matrix
  • Twitter Novel Study
  • YouTube
  • Warm-Ups
  • Webquest

Who's Who at the Summer Sandbox?

John Meehan (@MeehanEDU) is an English teacher and school instructional coach at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia, and the author of EDrenaline Rush: Game-Changing Student Engagement Inspired by Amusement Parks, Mud Runs, and Escape Rooms. He holds an M.A. from The Catholic University of America. In March of 2019, he created the #EggDashChallenge - a classroom activity that became a viral video, racking up 75K+ views in less than one month’s time, and spawning hundreds of classroom videos in 40 US states, 6 Canadian provinces, and 12 countries.

Mr. Meehan is a 2017 ASCD Emerging Leader and an alumnus of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Advisory Council. In 2016, he was named one of Arlington, VA’s “40 Under 40” by the Leadership Center for Excellence. He is a national speaker at education conferences including ASCD, NCEA, STLinSTL, and Gamicon, and a noted educational consultant in the fields of student engagement, gamification, and staff development.

Carlos Chism (@ChismEDU) is a Literacy Specialist and 10th grade English teacher at Bishop O'Connell High School, and a Google Certified Educator, Level 1. A former news editor at Gameranx, Mr. Chism holds an M.A. in English and an M.F.A. in creative writing, blending his love of playful learning with a passion for the written word through both the high school and the college level, with experience as a lecturer and adjunct professor of writing at the University of Maryland, Penn State, and La Salle University.

Siobhan Dannaher (@MsDannaher) is a Research Specialist, librarian, and technical theater facilities director at Bishop O'Connell High School. Ms. Dannaher holds a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science from The Catholic University of America, and is a member of the American Libraries Association and the Virginia Association for School Librarians. Before joining the igKnight team at Bishop O'Connell High School, Ms. Dannaher served as a research librarian for the Virginia Board of Veterans Appeals. She has extensive background in kinesthetic learning, including theatrical performance and staged drama.

A native of the Washington, D.C. area and a graduate of The Catholic University of America, Colleen Swaim (@ColleenSwaimDJO) is a teacher of religion and English at Bishop O'Connell High School. Mrs. Swaim holds an M.A. and an M. Ed., and is the author of two books on the lives of teenage saints, including Ablaze: Stories of Daring Teen Saints and Radiate: More Stories of Daring Teen Saints. Her most recent book, Your College Faith: Own It! addresses the challenge of living as a young adult Catholic in college. As a member of the Bishop O'Connell igKnight team, Mrs. Swaim focuses on mission integration and helping teachers across all content areas develop lesson plans that affirm the dignity of the human person to become more inclusive, empathetic, and culturally responsive.