Plan Now for a Year of Social Success


Welcome back to school in Ontario.  Today’s the big day for most.  I decided to drag out this old “Post from the Past”.  It goes back to the start of the school year in 2012.  I thought that it was good advice then and I am equally as convinced that it’s just as good or better advice today.  I’m not sure that I would change it much if I was writing it today.  One of the things that comes to mind might be to include a class Instagram account in addition to the Twitter account.

It’s funny; having written this so long ago – I can actually put faces and names to the social media activities described in the post.  Can you?

Are you one of them?  If so, why not take a moment and share in the comments exactly what it means to you and how you do it.


Labour Day!

The last day before getting back at it. Flash forward 9 months and the school year will be just about over but you’ll be scrambling for content for the yearbook and/or end of the year assembly. A little planning now could make that so easy and social media is the answer.

All that is will take is a Twitter account and a blog. Done properly, all the pieces will just fall into place.

First Step – Grab that Hashtag
Hashtags are Twitter’s way to tag or follow a conversation. Before your students even cross the threshold into your classroom, decide on your class’ hashtag. #MySchoolG5R3 or whatever will uniquely identify your classroom. This is the basis for retrieving all the data that you’ll create. (Do a quick search for your proposed hashtag now, before using it, to make sure that it’s not in use by someone else.)

At any point in the future, a simple Twitter search http://search.twitter.com where you enter your hashtag will bring back all of your content. Share the search with your students, with their parents, with your school, with your principal, with anyone who might have a vested interest in your classroom.

Second Step – Use that Hashtag
But, where’s the content? This is typically the stumbling block for many well-intentioned plans. It takes time to come up with content. Suggestion – crowd source it with your students. They’ve been in class all day long – at the end of the day, do a little wrap up before they head home. It might be questions like:

  • What was the neatest thing we did today?
  • Who was our classroom guest today?
  • What are we excited about for tomorrow?
  • What books did we read today?
  • ….

Any of a myriad of questions that elicit any thoughts on the day will do! Just as long as they can be summarized in 140 characters or less. Then, post it to Twitter. It could be from you or the class scribe for the day or the tech helpers or …

But the key is to make it positive and upbeat. In YOUR classroom, of course, it will be the best of the positive and upbeat!

This daily positive message will make it home before your students.

Third Step – Blog it!
If you’re not a daily blogger, that’s OK. How about being a weekly blogger? Friday night, Saturday morning – create a blog post. Don’t worry about writer’s block. You’ve got at least five pieces of inspiration already. Just do the Twitter search for your classroom hashtag, copy the results, and paste them into a blog post. It’s a leisurely reflective 10-15 minutes to expand on your student crowd sourced raw material. Post it and the week is in the bag. Do you have any pictures or a video to support the Twitter messages? Stick them into the blog post and they won’t get lost or crumpled like they might in the file folder in the top draw of the filing cabinet.

Fourth Step – You’re a Genius
There are always times you need good news stories and you’ve got them all in one spot!

Parent conferencing? You can lead it; students can lead it; Twitter can lead it; your Blog can lead it.

End of the year celebrations? Piece of cake. You’ve been celebrating and reflecting on the great things that happened all year-long. There’s no need for deep memory searching or looking for that elusive piece of information. It’s all there in your blog! Pull the pieces together and you’re good to go.

A year’s worth of successes is a good thing. Crowd sourcing them from grass-roots 140 characters at a time leverages the technology and makes a big task easy.

And, next summer when you look back over everything – you’ll be fully justified in saying “That was quite a year”.

All the best to my teacher readers for a successful 2012-2013 school year.

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Playing catch up


Like many people, I suspect, who went to school when I did, my education included a certain approach to our First Nations people.  Looking back now, I completely see that it was biased and certainly did not even attempt to address all sides to us.  In fact, I’d be willing to bet that our teachers were affected by the romantic notion often conveyed in the movies.

We didn’t even use the name First Nations.

I also suspect that, like many, it was the issue with Dudley George at Ipperwash that raised whatever level of understanding that I now have.  Before this, honestly, Ipperwash was the “other” Provincial Park near Grand Bend that wasn’t as commercial as the Pinery.  The only First Nations communities that I knew of first hand were in Delaware, Walpole Island, and Sarnia.  Just within the past year, I’ve become aware of the Caldwell Nation along the north shore of Lake Erie.

We now understand the importance of recognizing First Nations communities, treaties, and conducting meaningful land acknowledgements.  It’s been a personal learning journey for me.  Like so many, I was impressed that the Ministry of Education was going to fund support for the Ontario Curriculum this summer.  Like so many, I was deeply disappointed when it didn’t happen.

Recently, I’ve become aware of the resource “Whose Land“, a joint project of Bold Realities, Canadian Roots, and Taking IT Global.  This is an interesting collection of text, maps, treaties, communities, links, and videos showing Land Acknowledgements.

Overlaid on Google Maps, this resource is a visual portal for research.  This has been a useful resource for my own learning.  I can’t believe how much I need to understand to catch up.  So much of this should have been part of my Canadian Studies classes.

I’m sharing it here for those who are looking for appropriate and respectful resources for the class this upcoming school year.

While the scope is North American, I’m starting local and then branching out.

Communities

Screenshot 2018-08-19 at 10.02.39

Territories

Screenshot 2018-08-19 at 10.01.31

I certainly am humbled when I view that “our borders” don’t have a place on this map.

I had nowhere near this availability of information and resources when I went to school.  Our students are so much better off and hopefully will grow up with the understanding and respect that is so necessary if we truly believe in compassion, understanding, and living in an interconnected world.

Whose Land has a working relationship with Native-Land which had previously appeared on this blog here.

Tracking Twitter messages


This is an interesting tool.

It’s called OneMillionTweetMap and it pretty much does what you would expect it to — it plots Twitter messages on a world map according to your rules.  Just a blank snap world-wide looks like this.

onemillion

If there is any doubt that people are using Twitter, this should dispel that notion.  Since it’s a digital map, you can zero in on any particular location and check things out around that neighbourhood.

It gets very interesting when you start to play around with the tools and look for results with a purpose.

toolsAs people in education know, the big ISTE conference is on this week.  It’s an opportunity for educators to gather and learn.  For some, it’s a chance to dust off that Twitter account and share pictures of meals others or to send the message “I’m at ISTE and you’re not”.  Regardless, there’s evidence when you do a search for the hashtag #iste18

iste18

I let it run and gather 5000 Twitter messages for the purpose of this post and these were the results.  That it’s got global interest shouldn’t come as a surprise.  It’s also early morning as I write this; I may run it again later in the day to see what’s happening.  In addition to the one hashtag, there’s also a #notatiste18 tag.

Its results?

notatiste18

The little red dots appear to be the application checking by location.

You’ll also notice, I hope, that the tool allows you to have a hashtag battle.  You can plot both of these on the same map.

Beyond ISTE?

Do you want to prove to yourself that soccer is a world wide event, try plotting #WorldCup18!

Any time there’s an event with a hashtag, you could use this tool to share the results.  I’m thinking, for example, of something that you’re district is promoting.  It would be nice way to summarize the results for parents, trustees, administration, …

Play with it.  I’m sure that many ideas will come to mind.