I know that little blue bird looks cute and all but don’t let its size fool you. That twitter bird is powerful! Let me tell you what happened after I sent out a simple tweet!
I teach in one of the schools that ended up spending the night after the sudden snow/ice storm January 28th. We realized that we were going to be stranded so I sent out this tweet:
“Very exciting day. Some of us are still stranded at school. The kids are being real troopers. 🙂 I think they think it’s an adventure.”
Somehow CNN found our classroom twitter page. They quoted our tweet in their article.
BUT wait! That tweet was not finished yet! I get called to the office the morning after our “surprise” sleepover and it is an assistant for Greta Van Susteren. She said the FOX news office has been following our tweets and wanted to interview me that night about the event. THIS STARTED FROM ONE TWEET!
Tweets are powerful. Twitter is the most powerful and classroom-changing tool I know of. I know, I know, I was just like you. When will I find time to use it? I don’t even understand it. How can it help me? I promise if you give it a chance, you won’t regret it. Here’s my story.
My twitter journey:
I joined twitter several years ago. The first few months, twitter was mainly a resource to find new ideas and educational resources. That was amazing by itself. I was hooked and knew I found a place where I could grow as an educator. I knew my classroom and teaching practices would change and they have!
Then I slowly started interacting with a few of those I followed. I started sharing my classroom with the world. I watched a few chats. Yes, just watched or “lurked” as it is called. I will be honest, I had no idea how anyone understood what was being said it was going so fast. HOWEVER, I saw retweets from chats and knew it was changing classrooms and teachers, so I kept trying. All these years later, I cannot imagine teaching without my PLN on twitter. I am now a moderator on #2ndchat (bi-weekly, Wed. @7pm central http://2ndchat.wikispaces.com). Imagine that! I was the one shaking my head at the speed of a chat and now I help moderate one!
Through the power of twitter, I see past limits I may have placed on myself and my students. Those walls are gone! I know if I have an idea, I will find someone on twitter that will not only support me but might join me in trying it!
In the past few years, I have collaborated with many amazing educators. Twitter is powerful and life changing for any educator who is willing to keep trying it. My class joined global projects for all ages and global projects just for 2nd graders. We wrote and shared stories, compared science experiments, created and shared math problems,and we are currently working on a project-based learning unit with another class.
Could I have used these activities with just my individual class? Yes. Would the students have been interested and engaged? Yes. Did they benefit and learn more because it was a collaborative project? ABSOLUTELY! My students learned more with other classrooms than they would have just within our four walls. We learned that other students can experience the exact same lesson but ask different questions, arrive at other solutions and in turn we learn them all.
How to start with twitter:
1. Just start.
- It’s as simple as that. Create an account and write a short profile.
- If you have a friend on twitter, ask them to help you find people to follow.
- Search for your interests or grade level. @cybraryman1 has tons of resources about twitter. He has a list of educators that you can begin with. You will quickly add more. Here is his twitter PLN (Professional Learning Network) page: http://www.cybraryman.com/gradelevelpln.html
Sign on and read tweets of those you have followed. They will share resources, blog posts, lesson ideas and conversations with others you will want to follow. I just read for the first few weeks. I found many new ideas in one place and you will too!
3. Start a conversation!
If you have a question about a tweet or a shared idea, ASK! Make sure you have their twitter name in the tweet or they will not know you are talking to them. You will notice the “reply arrow” under the tweet, just like in email. It will automatically place their names in the tweet.
Did you do something cool in your room? Have you learned something new? Do you have a favorite website or app that helps your students learn? SHARE! We can learn from you!
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR????