Setting up the Tweetdeck, by far, proved to be the most difficult part of this assignment for me. Somehow I missed the memo that I would need to specifically navigate to Tweetdeck and instead stared at my Twitter homepage for at least five minutes saying various unmentionables under my breath as I searched for anything that remotely resembled the screen in the tutorial video. Have I mentioned I’m not very Twitter savvy? Nonetheless, after finally figuring it all out the five hashtags I chose to follow were: #projectbasedlearning, #edumindset, #engchat, #learningpit, and #writingworkshop. As a 7th grade English teacher #engchat and #writingworkshop are the most specifically related to my content and the other three hashtags collectively support the move my district is making in regards to making learning visible to students.
One idea I gained from the #projectbasedlearning column featured a project that had students create Shark Tank presentations for their unique food truck creations. I’ve watched Shark Tank numerous times and my students present to the class at least once per quarter throughout the year but never thought of combining the two to increase student voice, choice, and motivation. We complete a disaster/survival unit during our year and I think a Shark Tank presentation on a unique survival tool would be something the kids really enjoyed and learned a great deal while completing.
An additional resource I came across in my new Tweetdeck was from the #edumindset column. Here, I found this link to an activity that featured students writing a positive mindset poem using pre-selected words such as: abundant, blessings, creativity, courageous, friendship, understanding, and many others. I think this would be a great back to school activity to help build community in the classroom and begin talking about mindset. It would make a great project to continue throughout the school year or come back to for revision and edits, especially in times that positive mindset may be waning such as testing season in the spring.
A third resource I was really excited to find was this webinar featuring James Nottinham describing the Learning Pit. This webinar is from the Corwin Institute which just finished putting on a three day summer training for my district. The Learning Pit is something I’m very excited to share with my students this coming year. I teach honors and have found that these students, more so than my other students, tend to have the hardest time with “failure” and struggle greatly during the first quarter of my class when I provide them with challenges that don’t always have a “right answer.” I find that these students are used to being right and thrive on perfect scores rather than perseverance through difficult tasks. I feel if I can give them a visual and work with them to understand the Learning Pit in addition to Growth Mindset we will have a more positive introduction to our year. Also in this Tweetcolumn were multiple visual examples of student generated Learning Pits that I found very resourceful in reflecting upon how I will be communicating this idea to my students.
I have to admit that I was very resistant and not at all excited about having to create a Twitter account for this class. I had almost prided myself on my ability to avoid being sucked into this social media. However through this assignment, which I quite enjoyed, I do see the usefulness of Twitter. In regards to using Twitter as a “just in time” form of professional development I may be beginning to change my mind about Twitter almost completely. As a single mother on a mission to provide and full and well rounded life to a very active and involved little boy my time is very precious. Being able to attend or seek out professional development in a way that allows me to continue to balance my life so that I’m both a successful educator and present mother is an invaluable opportunity.