Have you ever felt isolated? Alone? (Does this sound like the beginning of a self-help book?) For the past seven years I have been the only 4th grade writing teacher on my campus. I have not had anyone to plan with, create with, collaborate with or bounce ideas off of. Don’t get me wrong, I work with wonderful women that have guided me through all of my teaching firsts: first day of school, first TAKS test, first parent/teacher conference, first field trip, first field day, first last day of school. They teach other subjects than I do, other grade levels, so I have not had anyone solely to talk with about 4th grade writing. So….I got in a rut. I did the same thing, year, after year, after year. We had fun, I loved my students, I think they loved me, we learned, we made great scores on our TAKS test, but something was missing. I didn’t know what or how to fix it until late one Tuesday night. I couldn’t sleep. I had already read my entire Facebook stream like three times, so I thought I might as well look at the Twitter feed that I was FORCED (joking….kind of) to get. You see, I thought Twitter was trashy. Stupid. Pointless. A place for teenagers to post filth and adults to post food. Weird. So I steered clear of it. Until I couldn’t anymore. It was suggested, when I made my account, to follow Matt B. Gomez and Erin Klein. Matt is a Kindergarten teacher in the Dallas area, and Erin teaches 2nd grade in Michigan. Both have amazing ideas that I adapt to my 4th grade class all the time. The night I got hooked on Twitter, the night “I really got it” was that Tuesday night when I couldn’t sleep. I saw a post by Erin Klein on Augmented Reality. (See previous posts) I read it, taught myself how to do it, then I stepped back for a moment and realized what just happened. I connected with an educator in Michigan and used her ideas in my class. I had a friend. Someone to question, get ideas from, collaborate with. An expert in her field. Someone that I could turn to when I wanted to shake things up a little in my classroom. Now I have 1300 friends to go to. I never run out of new ideas anymore. I just click that little blue bird and off I go. I have established a wonderful PLN (personal learning network) that I go to daily for almost anything. I know who knows what, who is an expert at what, who is positive when the mundane tasks of grading papers etc. are getting to me. If I need help with Google, I tweet Alice Keeler in California. If I need help with Augmented Reality, Drew and Brad are the guys to go to. I’m never alone. I always have an answer from a real educator doing real things every day in their class. Twitter is awesome. Twitter is the absolute best way to connect with educators around the world. Twitter is the best way for ME to stay on top of my game, stay inspired, and be the best teacher I can be for my students. And in the end, that’s what it’s all about.
Below is the link to my Prezi on Twitter and also a list of great educators to follow.