Twitter-PLN

Sometime last year I started following several blogs of other teachers.  I loved hearing about new books they were reading, goings on in the classrooms and their new learning.  I even started this little blog of my own.  I felt connected outside my district and was constantly talking about the things I had read. I thought this was the best way to connect.

I'm pretty sure the first time I heard about teachers utilizing Twitter was at the Dublin Literacy Conference.  Franki Sibberson was talking about tech in the classroom and mentioned using Twitter to connect with other teachers.  To say I was skeptical is an understatement, why did I need to know what other teachers were having for dinner or where they were shopping?  I did wonder why someone I respected and learned from would be into Twitter but I still wasn't convinced.

Early this summer, I listened to a podcast by Kassia Wedekind and Katie Keier.  They talked about how teachers are "tweeting" to connect and learn from each other.  I was reminded of Franki talking about using Twitter and I thought maybe this is something I need to check out.  I signed up and started following Franki (@frankisibberson), Kassia (@kassiawedekind) and Katie (@bluskyz).  I spent the afternoon finding other bloggers I recognized and started following them. 

I had no idea what this summer had in store for me.  Soon I was following kindergarten teachers around the world, amazing authors, teachers from all levels who love literacy, techy teachers and Janet Jackson (everyone has a guilty pleasure:)).  I can't even begin to mention all of the things I have learned. 

I started gathering book titles and expanding my Amazon Wishlist.  Then Cathy Mere (@cathymere), Laura Komos (@Komos72), and Jill Fisch (@jillfisch) started posting about something they were calling #cyberPD.  It was an online book club of sorts.  Everyone was going to read Conferring: The Keystone of Readers Workshop by Patrick Allen (@Coloreader) and blog their thoughts after each of three parts.  I knew this was not something that was for me.  I teach kindergarten, how on earth am I going to confer with emergent readers.  The posts kept coming, reminders to buy the book, first post was due next week.  Teachers were replying too, lot of teachers, teachers I respect and want to learn more from.  I was so curious I couldn't not participate.  Even if I would just learn things to pass on to colleagues of older grades.  This learning experience turned out to be one of the most amazing PD experiences I've had.  Not only did this apply to me in ways I had never thought of but I was able to connect and think with some fantastic teachers. 

Since #cyberPD I've connected with Laura, she teaches first grade in IL.  We have many if not most teaching philosophies in common.  We share the same frustrations and goals for our kids.  It's been so nice to talk with someone as excited as I am about this new learning.

I've also been invited to a blogger breakfast with other bloggers from Central OH.  I have seen so many posts about other events and I thought how cool it would be to hang out with them.  I'm so excited to connect with these amazing people.

I have been thinking a lot about homework and how I wanted it to look this next year. So last night I posed the question to two kindergarten teachers on Twitter who seem to be in similar schools and who's opinions I respect.  Immediately, I got awesome responses that confirmed what I was thinking.  Others even chimed in with their thoughts to add to an already great conversation. 

I haven't even mentioned the amazing chats that I participate in #kinderchat with K teachers all over the world, #titletalk about books to use in the classroom, #1stchat always has great resources I can use in K and a few others.

I could go on and on about why you need to join Twitter but I don't want you to miss another tweet.  Seriously, open up a new window, sign up and start on this learning adventure.  I will be a better teacher this year because I did.

P.S. Sorry I doubted you Franki.

Comments

  1. Can't wait to meet you in person at the blogger breakfast. Great post too and enjoy our connecting.

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  2. Nicole,
    It has been a great summer of learning. As people post their end of summer reflections I am impressed by all that has been accomplished. Franki talked me into taking another look too, and now I have an addiction that I am in no hurry to fix. I am looking forward to many more learning conversations.
    Cathy

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  3. Hi Nicole! I'm glad I found your blog. I agree with all you've posted. I just found twitter this summer and its taken my thinking and learning to a whole new level. Have a great start to your school year :)

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  4. I've been blogging for a while but got into tweeting just for fun until I started a book blog. Then I found Donalyn Miller on Twitter and it took off from there. It's so fun to have a PLN with like-minded people at my fingertips. I'm finding more and more teacher blog and loving it. :)

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  5. Nicole,

    I know exactly how you are feeling! I joined Twitter at the beginning of summer after I watched the podcast as well. There are an amazing network of teachers and colleagues that are willing to share and answer any question. I truly never realized the power of Twitter, but I love it too! However, my wish list of books is overflowing and I'm reading more and more teacher blogs, and Twitter is a constant flow of ideas . . . I'm still trying to learn how to balance it all and not let it take over! :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I'm glad to be learning right alongside you!
    Michelle

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  6. Nicole,
    Once again, you've proven why we were meant to connect on Twitter! :) Your Twitter journey sounds a lot like mine. I find it amazing (and funny) that most of us have never met in person, yet we learn and teach together every day!

    I was following your homework conversation, and I agree with so much of what was brought up. I believe homework should reflect what is going on in the classroom ... which is real reading and writing!

    This has definitely been a summer filled with inspiration and learning!
    ~Laura :)

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