Monday, July 29, 2013

Learning, Connecting, Growing

This past week, I had a few opportunities to learn and share with other educators. From blogging to Twitter to faculty book club meeting to attending my first Edcamp, it was definitely a FULL week!

On Tuesday, I worked with teachers and librarians on blogging. Each person was at a different place, some had an active blog but just wanted to add some WOW to it, while others had not yet begun to blog.

I went with Blogger, since that is the one I am most familiar with and helped teachers set up a Google account and then create  and "decorate" their blog. Sometimes, especially with elementary teachers, we can't even begin until we are pleased with the look! :)

 In addition to teachers & librarians, our diagnostician came to the session, wanting help not only with blogging, but also finding relevant blogs to follow.  By searching topics and people, we were able to find blogs that would be beneficial.  Some decided to add these to their blog page under "My Blog List" so that it was easy to follow. 

There was a really good discussion about "audiences" for our blog and who we are targeting.  We all agreed that our hope is that our school families are reading them, acknowledging though that more often it is other teachers & librarians.  Everyone brainstormed ways to draw in our school families, and decided one way is to make sure there is more coverage of daily events with pictures!  :)

The best part of the day was the informal sharing that happened as we all moved forward with our blogging skills!  I love how Mrs. Abdur-Razzaaq added video of her new genre-fied fiction section to her Crockett Elementary Library blog!  

It was fun working with each other to create informative blogs for our students & families!

On Wednesday, I met with a few teachers to help them create Personal Learning Networks (PLN)on Twitter.  Again, we started where each person was, some without a Twitter account, some with "eggs" as profile pictures, and others with wanting to find people to follow. 

I am passionate about sharing the benefits of establishing a PLN with colleagues and was excited about the opportunity to "hook" a few new people!  :)  We discussed the difference between using Facebook and Twitter, separating your personal and professional Twitter accounts, and connecting with people who will inspire and energize you! The professional learning opportunities that come up from following people on Twitter are fabulous!  The weekly chats are plentiful!  Just look at this Tweet for Jerry Blumengarten, who is an incredible asset to any PLN:

Webinars are often shared on Twitter, as well as conferences.  And then there is the daily interaction between people who create, collaborate and share!  This is the best place to personalize your professional learning!  (see, I told you I was passionate about this!  ;) )

When everyone left, they had their account set up, people to follow, and had posted at least one tweet!  Woohoo! 
Most of the people working on Twitter are also members of our faculty book club, which happened to be meeting right after.  Each month we choose a book to read and then meet to discuss it. Now that more of us are on Twitter, we are also using #curtisbookclub when talking about our books.  We read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn for this month's book and the discussion was LIVELY to say the least! (This is NOT a children's book, definitely for "mature audiences.")  The delicious treats at Cup and Cake in downtown Weatherford made the discussion even better!

Our next selection is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and we will meet in a few weeks for this discussion.  This is another adult book, but as I have recently been reminded, teachers need to be READERS to teach READERS!  :)  We will work in children's books during the school year, but for the end of summer, this seems good!  I'm taking it with me on my end of summer trip next week. 
Edcamp Fort Worth was so awesome, it deserves its own post! More to come!
Happy Reading AND Happy Learning!

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