Yes, I love Twitter. In 2006, I thought it would be cool to sign up for an account and share with the world my actions and thoughts…
Yes, that’s all I entered. I don’t really think I understood it at all. Why wasn’t anything showing up in my Twitter stream? Who do I ‘follow’? I had no idea. Then I decided to return to it in April 2011. I remembered a local teacher who I had heard talk about cell phone use in his class, found his webpage/blog, loved it, and then saw that he was on Twitter.
He was my first ‘follow’.
One thing led to another. More teachers began showing up. I followed them as well. Then I saw principals, superintendents, consultants, professors and (gasp) even students on Twitter. I learned really quickly how valuable it could be. I was invited to a local #edcamp (unconference) in Boston and then met hundreds of educators, all sharing resources, providing feedback, and collaborating together on different projects. It was like some kind of PD heaven!
So, on to tonight. I saw that there was an AP US History chat being moderated at 7PM EST and, yes, its summer. I had the time and really wanted to connect with APUSH teachers. We introduced ourselves and the discussion began: “How do we help our students in the beginning of the year without overwhelming them?”
Some ideas shared on Twitter #APUSHchat:
- Get PSAT data from students and compare with a diagnostic US History test, then make groups 3-4 strong with middle and developing students in each group.
- Ask students what they want to get out of the class and then pretest them to see what they know and where they are at.
- Give students an organized day by day agenda so that they know what to expect and set deadlines.
- Create a pacing/reading guide for students for the whole year so they can plan their schedules.
- Identify class and personal goals, as well as reading and learning goals.
- Sharing the ‘top 10’ pieces of advice given by last year’s APUSH class.
- Using formative assessments on a regular basis to inform instruction. Here are some notes shared by one teacher: http://bit.ly/NfkBxq
- Letting students know about (and practice) different note taking strategies, such as Cornell notes, The One Pager, Havard Outline, Dialectical Journals, Levels of Questions.
- A learner profile and a technology survey for students.
We also discussed field trips and their logistics, syllabus design, Socratic seminars, edcafes, parent meetings, parent resources, edcamps, and fact vs. opinion vs. inferences. It was one hour of pure ‘teacher-helping-teachers’.
In my 16 years of teaching, I have definitely found this to be my strongest form of collaborative professional growth.
How to connect?
So, if anyone is interested in finding out how to use Twitter as a teacher, go to Twitter.com, create an account, click ‘compose new Tweet’ and send a message to @thalesdream (me). If you’d like to find other Social Studies and History teachers relatively quick, type ‘Hello, I’m new to Twitter and looking to connect with other history teachers.’ and then add #sschat, which is the chat channel for Social Studies on Twitter.
Here are some other really useful #sschat links: