Friday, September 26, 2014

Learning and Connecting through #twitterchats

When I first heard about Twitter chats, I have to say I was not intrigued. My mind immediately thought of chat rooms and random people just ranting and rambling. After going to a conference over the summer and connecting with other administrators and digital leaders, I was shown the powerful learning, connections and reflection that can truly happen through a Twitter chat. 

So what are the basics of a chat? 
A Twitter chat is centered around a specific interest and occurs each week at the same time with the same hashtag. Each chat has a moderator that poses questions and those participating respond and include the same hashtag. Some of my favorite chats are:

Sunday nights at 7:00 CST: #nbtchat  (No Box Thinking)
Monday nights at 8:00 CST: #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate)
Thursday nights at 8:00 CST: #atplc
Thursday nights at 9:00 CST: #moedchat (Missouri Ed)
Saturday mornings at 6:30 CST: #satchat (Saturday Chat)
Saturday mornings at 9:30 CST: #satchatwc (Saturday Chat-West Coast)
Saturday mornings at 8:00 CST: #nt2t (New Teachers to Twitter)
Monday-Friday at 4:30 am CST or 6:30 am CST: #bfc530 (Breakfast Club 5:30)

Questions are labeled Q1, Q2, etc. and you mark your answers to correspond with the questions, A1, A2, etc. Don't forget that hashtag! That't the way that all of the others in the chat can see your thoughts and resources that you are sharing.

Abbreviations to know:
Ts= teachers
BTW=by the way
DM=direct message
TY or Thx=thanks
TIL=today I learned

Organizing your chat:

It's possible to participate in a chat using Twitter, however it is very hard to keep up with all of the tweets. I recommend using a third-party organizer, such at Tweetchat or Tweetdeck. This allows you to just see what is happening in your specific chat. Very easy to set up and use!

Using Tweetdeck:
Using Tweetchat:

How do I get started with a chat?
Your particular comfort level and learning style will most likely guide how you go about participating in your first chat. I recommend finding a friend. I had a chat buddy. He helped me to learn the basics and actually walked me through my very first chat as it was happening. Having that support eased the unknown for me. You can also "lurk" or just watch chats as they happen until you feel comfortable jumping in and participating.

For the researchers out there, here are sites that have been especially helpful to me:

Jerry Blumengarten @cybraryman1 has a page for most any topic in education. He is my go to when I want to dive a little deeper.

Learning and Leading with Technology

Chat Schedules:

Twitter chats have been some of the most powerful professional learning that I have taken part in so far as an educator. The knowledge and resources shared and global education connections that have been made have been invaluable. So jump right in and #happychatting!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Backchanneling: Engagement & Assessment

Are you looking for ways to get your students engaged?  Looking for quick formative assessment checks? What about "out of the box" summative assessment opportunities?  Here is a presentation created to showcase some backchanneling, chat, and assessment opportunities to quickly check your student's understanding of content.

Look over the presentation and add any ideas for the resources.  It is our hope to create a list of possible uses and share.  Have fun experimenting and please comment your uses for each resource!

Backchanneling: Engagement & Assessment

Personalizing Your Professional Development

I don't know about you, but there have been too many times I had to sit through professional development workshops that were not relevant to my needs at the time.  If I was lucky, I attended a conference where some sessions were awesome and some were ok.  Maybe they were something I could take right to my classroom, and most of the time, I had to tweak to make it work for me and my class.  I can honestly say, I have learned how to navigate my own professional development path.  Through Twitter and Google+ Communities, I can now follow professionals and join communities that are relevant to my needs.  There is also the possibility to sync both of these forms of social media to my smartphone, so I am alerted when something I am interested in is posted.

So many ideas, resources, advice, and collaboration, from and with experts in my professional field, are waiting to be utilized.  Check out these presentations created on personalizing your pd through Twitter and Google+ communities.  Hope you find them useful!

Personalizing PD Through Twitter


Friday, September 12, 2014

Google Drive Tips and Support

Google Drive Tips and Support

Google Drive has truly been a life changer for me! It makes my life so much easier because all I need is at my fingertips. I know that it can be a shift from what was used before, but definitely worth it! I've put together some resources below to help you become more Google Drive Savvy. Enjoy!

From Google:

Advanced Tips:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Interactive Close Reading

4th grade is using the reading booklet, Storyworks.  What is really great is the online component of the monthly reading booklet. (I'm sure whatever you are using has an online component as well.)  I will be using this online component with a resource called Subtext, component of Renaissance Learning.

How this resource works is I will upload the online Storyworks to the Subtext site and add it to the library (Subtext has many articles to choose from).  This now makes the article interactive.  I can post questions at different points in the text, and the students can answer and comment to each other.  They can highlight and interact with the text. What an awesome way to bring close reading to the digital age!

I encourage you to try this resource and share your experiences!