Why I Love My PLN

image courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nikrowell/2955430710/

Wow… Was dipping into the Twitter stream tonight when I came across a tweet with the #elemchat hashtag. It wasn’t someone I followed (I do now!), but I was intrigued by her question about using Twitter in an elementary classroom, so I checked out her blog post. Immediately, I started getting ideas… The author, a 3rd grade teacher named Jen Smith (@hthehippo) was asking for advice:

To Tweet, or not to Tweet
By planetsmith

I would absolutely love to use Twitter in my classroom. My initial thought would be to create a classroom account and encourage my parents to follow it. I would prefer that my students write the posts, which would help with using powerful and concise word choice. I can imagine the possibilities also, of following other classrooms or connecting via a pen pal route. I suppose starting small is the way to go.

Each year I have digitized communication, to the point where I send very little paper home. As of right now, I Email a classroom newsletter, maintain a classroom website and encourage parents to call me during the day if they have questions. I also respond to parent concerns or questions via Email. Is Twitter too much? Am I going too far to include yet ANOTHER mode of communication? Will it make me or my parents and students absolutely crazy?!

The best part about summer, is that it gives me time to research such things. If you are reading this and have had experience at an elementary level using Twitter, I’d love any advice you may have to give!

It occurred to me that there were some great opportunities here – I responded:

I’m intrigued… I teach 4th grade, and like the idea of having the students write Twitter posts. I can see my kids going home saying, “I got to write today’s tweet!” Many of my parents don’t use Twitter though, and would probably not follow… You could not post important info that is not available elsewhere, but the kids could make great statements about their learning. You need a special hashtag so that you can save them and maybe publish them at the end of the year so they can look back on their learning! The more I write, the more I’m starting to like this idea… If nothing else, we could follow each other and give it a shot??

Jen and I continued our conversation on Twitter, and I thought about using the hashtag to create a Twitter feed on our class website. Then even parents who did not want to use Twitter could see the tweets from our class about our learning. I love the idea of the kids being able to look back on the statements they made about their learning throughout the year.

I was amazed that in the course of ten minutes, something new and exciting for this school year was starting to come together. If you are not “out there” and collaborating with other educators who can push your thinking and share great ideas, WHY ON EARTH NOT???

Just through Twitter this summer I have become involved in the Global Read Aloud Project, Mystery Skype, and found great project ideas during Twitter chats from members of my PLN. PLN, I love you guys!!

Best wishes to all for an exciting, collaborative year!

4 thoughts on “Why I Love My PLN

  1. Pingback: Patti's Ponderings… - Why I Love My PLN | Educational Professional Development | Scoop.it

  2. Hi Patti,
    I am interested in this post because I’m trying to decide if I want to have my 4th graders post tweets. I set up a class account last year, but then I didn’t use it because I had so much going on with using kidblog.org, Edmodo, Skype, Glogster and a few other sites. Please keep those of us who follow you updated if you decide to go for it. The part that I really like is how you suggested to create a special hashtag to keep with their learning.

    Thank you for the mention of my project in your post. I just completed the new updated plan for this year. 2011-2012 About Me Project

  3. Thanks, Paula! Thanks also, for the updated project. I like Tagxedo as well. Will let you know how the tweeting goes… If nothing else, it will help them to write in powerful, concise language and give each of them opportunities to reflect on their learning. Instead of hearing “nothing” when they ask about what the kids did that day, the parents will at least have a discussion starter based on whatever we tweeted about learning!

  4. Hi, Patti. Thanks for this intriguing blog post. I think the idea of a twitter feed composed by students is awesome!

    I think you could help parents pick up the feed by sharing this feature of your classroom on curriculum night or sending home a newsletter with a brief explanation and directions. You could also put a twitter feed widget on your blog so parents can see that it’s out there. I think it would take a few months to catch on, but with the right marketing and modeling, the parents would be on board (maybe not all, but a good number of them).

    I hope to hear about how this goes if you try to implement it!

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