Monday, September 28, 2015

The Power of PLN, Twitter, and Hashtags

I wake up every morning so grateful for my PLN. When I envisioned becoming a teacher, I never thought it would mean I would be connected with teachers from all over the country and world. In fact, I didn’t think teaching would cross paths with social media, especially Twitter. I created my personal Twitter account back in summer 2008 (No, I’m not sharing my handle...it’s private anyway!) and used it strictly for my random thoughts, what I was currently doing, and to briefly talk to my friends. After a few years, it wasn’t as versatile for social use, and I dwindled my use.
And, don’t get me started on my rant on hashtags. #hashtagsarenotparentheticalremarks. The end. Game over.  

But really, from the beginning of my Twitter use, I saw the purpose of hashtags to aggregate data and Tweets. I rarely used them, but was conscious of their purpose. During my break from the Twitter world, I was vehemently against using hashtags, except for their intended purpose. I still cringe when people write things on Facebook and use hashtags for parenthetical remarks. Come on people, just say what you want to say. 

When I started attending education conferences, my eyes were opened to the wider world beyond my classroom. So many teachers were on Twitter and connecting, I realized I needed to be a part of this. And, finally, hashtags were being used in a useful way! I jumped right in and started networking. As with any new technology (or language for that matter), I went through the silent phase. I watched other people tweet, and was too scared to say much of anything in reply. I got jittery posting a tweet, since it’s really not like me to put myself and my thoughts out in the open. Then, I started interjecting a few ideas here and there, adding to conversations, asking questions, and sharing my own experiences. From there, it all became an exciting and non-stop adventure! 
Rosy and I had dessert together via GHO!

Over the past year and a half, I have become a highly connected educator. There are members of my PLN (Justin Birckbichler and Rosy Burke!) that have become some of my closest friends, even though we haven’t met face to face. It is amazing to wake up each day and have meaningful conversations with teachers who enjoy teaching, and want to push me to be a better teacher. 

If I weren’t a connected educator, I wonder how long it would take me to burn out and become one of those negative and boring teachers? 


Friday, September 25, 2015

Happy Fly High Friday!


Happy #FlyHighFri everyone!

The idea for Fly High Friday started last summer, mainly out of my own selfish desire to have at least one lunch per week where no kids could come hang out in my room. I really do love my students, but sometimes I need time to be an adult and a “human being” as I like to say. I brought up this idea with Nicole Link, a teacher at my school, and convinced her to cohost with me. Luckily, she tends to say yes to my crazy ideas! I also brought up the idea to Justin Birckbichler, who came up with the name and decided to start a group at his school. 

I see so much negativity from some teachers, and even the best of us like to sit around and complain sometimes. The purpose of Fly High Friday is to create an open and inviting space where everyone can share the great things that happened to them each week, and we celebrate each person’s successes. 

I’m thankful for all the great teachers who joined us over the last 9 weeks of school. I look forward to Friday lunches even more, knowing I will be around great people who are excited about their jobs and eager to spread positivity. We are slowly spreading the word around school, and inviting other teachers to join us for lunch. Personally, I have found this group refreshing and encouraging, and it has helped me get through the busiest start to a semester. 

Interestingly, I recently finished The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon & Ken Blanchard. The ideas of the book directly parallel Fly High Friday, and we are seeing that positive reinforces positive. As we build up the positive energy (and if you haven’t read The Energy Bus, I’m not talking about hippy positivity, but true positive mindset energy), it will spread from person to person and soon will overtake our school. 

We have loved FlyHighFri so much that we are encouraging teachers from all over the world to start their own group. My group meets at lunch, and Justin’s meets before school. Can’t find time to meet in person? Use a back-channeling resource such as TodaysMeet to share together. And of course, add a #FlyHighFri column to your TweetDeck! 

For more, visit www.flyhighfri.com.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Welcome to the new blog!

Hello everyone and welcome to my new blog! You can see the archives of old posts here.

I have switched from Squarespace to Google/Blogger, mainly because I have been using Google for so much lately, and it seemed logical and more easy to keep track of things. Plus, I just love the integration of each component of Google, and the general functionality.

Seeing as we will be on Fall Break in just a few days, I'll be posting my first new post soon.