This summer i have taken on a couple of new challenges.
1. I am working on an Action Research to develop a way to get kids more engaged in research, writing, and presentation tasks.
2. I am developing my first “true” PBL experience for my students where the final product will be a novella they can share with friends and families.
3. I am developing a PLN on Twitter.
The last challenge is going to have a tremendous impact on my classroom and the first two challenges like nothing I could have imagined.
I got on Twitter because my students told me I should get on Twitter. They said I used so much technology already, I should be on Twitter and they would all follow me~okay. What they thought they were going to get by following me I have no idea but I got an account 2 years ago, followed 5 people and never opened it again.
This past semester our principal asked everyone to get out their phones and tweet #ILoveAKBecause to get a positive vibe brewing those last weeks when the testing gets high and the moods get challenging. I looked at my Seniors and said, “OMG I have a twitter I can do this too!” and I did.
That is how I got started in Twitter. I spent the first couple of weeks thinking to myself Why do these kids constantly tweet ridiculous pictures and thoughts? This is worse than some of the nonsense on Facebook. And then one of my Edmodo groups challenged us to tweet about Edmodo’s new Snapshot app. I did and then followed Edmodo. Then the real fun began! All these “teacher people” started popping up in my feed, and they were full of exciting, innovative ideas! I started following and following and following…and now I am so excited for the best year of school yet!
My suggestion for getting started is looking for people in your district to follow, authors, presenters at conferences you have attended, presenters at conferences you wished you could attend, school district leaders. Anyone who can add to your ability to engage students is perfect for your PLN. You can also follow Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher and her Daily Tweetpaper for tons of 21st century twitter ideas!
Last night in a twitter chat, #edtechchat, I learned about ProjectED which has contests for the most interesting video portrayal of a word/definition. Those wheels started turning and I was thinking of remediation techniques for Knight Time. This morning a tweet came across from a colleague about doing a 3-2-1 video/technology introduction-what a great way for my homeroom students who have been together for 2 years already to share what they did over the summer. And if their summer wasn’t exciting, they can simply tell us about themselves. What an awesome idea that came from looking at my Twitter feed and 3 short back and forths with a colleague I have never met. Check this link out: Student Challenge-Video Introductions.
This past week I learned all about why the unions are upset with education as it is right now. I watched videos, replied to tweets, and DM’d direct questions to people in the know. And while I don’t agree with all they are frustrated with, it did open my eyes to some of the obstacles other states and teachers face. It also opened conversations about how teachers handle these situations and still manage to do the best for their students. These conversations lead to collaborating and developing of ideas and sharing of techniques and the next thing you know, you have a new way of thinking about how you engage students. It is an amazing way of developing your craft and getting excited about your classroom.
If you teach and you haven’t tried a Twitter chat, go online and look for a # that ends with chat! #cmsk12chat #edchat #equipchat #tleadchat #mschat I have jumped in a ton of them and get so much out of chatting with my new PLN friends!