Time is a hot commodity for anyone, but especially for teachers at the beginning of the year. Knowing this when it came time for our staff development plans, the idea of book study made us yawn. How can you spice up a book study, engage your staff in a digital environment, and promote a digital presence?
You have a book study chat on Twitter!
We started by choosing a book we knew would have an immediate impact on classrooms, “Teach Like a Pirate”. It set the tone for the whole inservice, and we were able to go with a “pirate” theme. (I love a good theme!) Teachers were given their books with an intro the first day we came back. We divided the book into 4 parts, gave the dates that each part was to be completed by. So as not to overwhelm, because this was a lot of teachers first foray into Twitter, we decided there would be just three questions for each part. I gave a very basic session on the in’s and out’s of Twitter. We created our accounts and wrote our bios, making sure they represented our educationally interest. We talked about hashtags, chats, and the purpose of this “global” learning space.
This allowed everyone to scroll back through the tweets.
- It created a presence on Twitter for our staff, which helped lead to the next step of creating our #WMST hashtag, to start to document our #eduwins for all of our stakeholders.
- The awareness of others to follow, based on the conversations happening, built a base for many teachers to create their own PLN.
- It allowed other educational connections to be formed. We had several educators from around the world join in our chat which removed the “walls” from around our building.
- Teachers were able to think and creatively share their responses for an audience of more than just our staff, including author, Dave Burgess who joined us our first night.
- We were able to spend time in our campus based learning meetings focused on other instructional matters, since this was all done on their own time.
- Teachers who needed support were able to ask and recieve help privately, on their own ability level. This was an incredible opportunity to offer my help and really get to know our teachers.
Here’s our handout, #WTLAP.