My post yesterday talked about the importance of support. How with the right support you can accomplish great things. As a literacy coach I hope that I provide that support to the novice teachers I work with. A new PLN connection asked me what a literacy coach was and my response was support. Support to novice teachers in co-planning, c0-teaching, modeling lessons, creating resources, listening, sharing, and helping read and use data.
As I answered her question I realized that in only one month this is what my Twitter community has been for me. My PLN of educators, administrators, bloggers, writers, those passionate about education have helped me find my voice and challenged me to be better. I have invited teachers in my district to join Twitter and they just don’t see the value. Here is the value of Twitter.
1) Building a #PLN: Connecting with educators that both support and challenge you. Do not collect followers or follow anyone for numbers sake. Choose carefully and wisely. Spend time thinning the herd at times. Your PLN speaks to who you are. You then must be active in asking question and supplying answers to that PLN. Be the type of PLN participant that you want others to be for you.
2) Gathering resources: Become a sponge of resources. I have started using a pen and paper while chatting on Twitter so make sure I do not miss anything valuable. I started by favoriting or retweeting but they can get lost when used multiple times. I tried opening up tabs for items I wanted to go back to later but there ended up being too many to go through. I tried sending myself direct messages from posts I like but I forgot at times that I had done so upon waking up the next morning. So, pen and paper. I take good ole fashioned notes and spend my personal growth time reading, expanding and playing with new resources and apps.
3) #Read4Fun: Love this! Reading for fun is something that we as adults and especially educators forget to do. I would read YA books because I was getting ready to teach them. I would read textbooks or articles to gain information on my practices. Read for fun, thats for kids. Thanks to this community of those striving to inspire others to Read 4 Fun, I have begun choosing books for me again. There is value in being inspired to be passionate about something and Twitter allows you to find what inspires you. I am heading to the bookstore later to purchase “Teach Like a Pirate” by Dave Burgess and “The Girl On The Train” by Paula Hawkins both to read because I WANT to. Shout out to my #Read4Fun PLN for inspiring me to get back into reading because I LOVE it.
4) Blogs: I began by writing a blog for me. The Slice of Life Challenge awoke the writer in me and I am grateful. The value is sharing that blog on Twitter, gaining followers that want to hear what I have to say, finding my voice and not being afraid to share it. But I have found a greater value in following great blogs, reading from those I have connected with, and implementing those ideas into my life, teaching, and being. I encourage you to find a group of blogs and support them. Read. Like. Comment. Follow.
5) Chats: This is where my twitter life began. Join chats. Join many and find the ones that really speak to you. Lurk at first, chime in, RT, converse. This is the greatest area on twitter in my opinion. Education Chat Calendar helps me stay informed on what chats are when and @ChatSalad reminds me when it is time to chat. If you cannot find a chat for your content or focus then you are not looking. You practically trip over them whenever you are watching a twitter feed. TweetDeck has become my go-to for chats and I love lining up my columns for the night’s chats. How ever you choose to chat, no matter how often or how many, I would like to encourage you to do so.
There is great value in Twitter and like anything, it is what you make of it. I have made it my go to for great conversation, new resources, connecting, blogging, chatting, growing as an educator for myself, the teachers I work with, and the students I encounter.
Won’t you join me?
During the month of March 2015, I will be completing a daily blog as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge! More Slice of Life posts from other bloggers can be found on Two Writing Teachers READ & JOIN US! You can sign up here!