Using Twitter to Connect Within Your School

Twitter has been a great way for me to connect with teachers, administrators, and authors from around the country and the world.  As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I never thought I’d really use Twitter much, but now I love it.  I’ve begun to think about using Twitter as a means to connect with teachers in my own building. We all want more time to meet with colleagues, but let’s face it, it’s often difficult during the course of the day. Many of us have family responsibilities, activities we’re involved in, etc. it’s difficult to coordinate so many schedules.

So why not set up a Twitter chat just for your school? At my school we have groups of teachers who are interested in reading books on close reading and trying the strategy in their classrooms, blended learning, utilizing science notebooks, writing workshop, and more. The great thing is that these teachers aren’t in the same grade level, but are interested in learning and sharing together. The down side is that it’s difficult to meet with all the different plan time schedules. So, why not use technology, and Twitter specifically, to help with this logistical problem?

Understand that I still feel like technology is not always my strong suit, and I’m definitely an introvert. So, even considering approaching this idea with the staff is a tad bit anxiety inducing. But, I’ve embraced the Teach Like a PIRATE philosophy and this will get me moving along on that journey.

So here’s what I’m thinking right now. Start small. Find a small group of teachers who are up to trying something new. I have a few in mind already. Set up the chat for twice a month (same day and time) with the hope of going weekly. If there’s interest, but the time/day is a factor, then I could consider offering the same chat twice in the week and provide teachers with the archive of the earlier chat. I’ll have to ask my Twitter teacher friends how exactly to do this, though. I think I’ve finally got a handle on Google Docs, so I can send out the topic with list of questions. It might even be a good idea to send out a survey to find out the topics teachers are interested in discussing. After all, this must be beneficial to all of us in order for it to work. We could even conduct a book study this way. I’m thinking of using #setogether (part of it is our school abbreviation and the other shows our intent, in the idea phase right now).

Now, if this works, and takes off, I’d like to do the same thing, but district wide where we have grade level chats. Again, run it the same way as at the building level, but maybe just do it monthly. I’ve switched grade levels this year, so I’ll need to make some new contacts to see if there is interest in doing this. Many of our district leaders once taught or were an administrator in my building so I may be asking them for help to see if this idea would help. I’m thinking #DeSoto5 for our district and grade level.

I’m also wanting to try this with our student teachers and teacher interns. It’s even more difficult trying to coordinate schedules with this group, as they are being pulled in so many directions during their training. I and my fellow building representative, Coleen, could set the topic for the first chat, and then survey them to find out what they’re interested in discussing. We could also bring in their cooperating teachers and maybe even guest teachers. Anything to help them connect and learn from one another. If this works out we could consider taking it program wide. We are a part of the University of Kansas Professional Schools. These chats could be #senew2teaching, #KUnew2teaching, and #KUPDSmentors.

So, that’s where my mind is at today. Using technology to connect within my own building. I’d love to hear from other teachers who may have tried, or who are doing this already. Or, simply any comments about trying this.

I’ll leave you a few quotes from the Teach Like a PIRATEteacher and author, Dave Burgess.

Let’s just be sure that the “definite purpose” of collaboration is improving education, not simply standardizing it.-Dave Burgess, Teach Like a PIRATE

I strongly believe in the power of collaboration, but I don’t believe the final goal of such work should be to come to a single “right” way of teaching. -Dave Burgess, Teach Like a PIRATE

One of the most rewarding parts of teaching is the personal and professional relationships we develop on our voyage.-Dave Burgess, Teach Like a PIRATE

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