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.
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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- What Does Twitter for PD Mean? (dougpete.wordpress.com)
- How to Use Twitter (answers.com)
- 4 Lessons in Hashtag Marketing (brandwatch.com)
- Gimme some #hashtags! (zaraawritingstory.wordpress.com)
- 1 Year Later- Why Teachers Should Join Twitter…What I have Learned as a Twitter Newbie (adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com)