I went to school today. Does that sound strange? I guess it’s not what most teachers are doing in mid-July… Don’t get me wrong, we did make it to the beach later in the afternoon, but after yesterday’s #elemchat, I just felt like I needed to reconnect with my classroom. There were so many new and renewed ideas swimming around in my head, I just had to release them in the space where they will hopefully grow and flourish.
The #elemchat topic was Differentiation: What models, strategies, techniques and tools to deliver “just right” instruction? When the #elemchat community voted for this particular subject, I was elated. Differentiation is something that I have done to some extent but am hoping to be doing more of, in a more methodical and systematic way. That said, I must admit that I was really glad that the moderation of #elemchat is a team effort, as I am certainly no expert in that domain. Without exaggeration, the #elemchat team is the best possible team ever. Dynamic and forward-thinking yet modest to a fault, they have won my utmost respect and admiration in the very short time we’ve known each other. Nancy spearheaded the moderation of this particular topic, preparing a list of thought-provoking questions that only an educator with plenty of experience with differentiation could have come up with.
The chat was the coming together of educators who are dedicated to providing the best possible experiences and opportunities for students. The excitement stayed with me long after the chat was over. I look forward to helping to work on the summary (thank you for the head start Dorie!) as a way to revisit the wealth of ideas and resources shared and reflect on how I can improve my practice to, as Louise put it, “deliver ‘just right’ learning for students”.
It’s remarkable how quickly and profoundly Twitter has made a difference in my professional life. Through it, I have discovered a community of educators who share a steady stream of high calibre resources and ideas. For me, the most exceptional quality of building a PLN and using Twitter has been the tone – consistently positive and constructive, it shines in stark contrast to the negative venting and complaining that often takes place in staff rooms. I once read somewhere (can’t remember where, though would love to credit) that Facebook is for connecting with people you went to school with, whereas Twitter is for connecting with people you wish you’d gone to school with. Though I have the immense privilege of working on a beautiful campus with a great staff, I am also grateful to be breaking down walls to, as Eddie put it, “learn alongside” my PLN. I love teaching, and I love learning – it’s what I do, it’s who I am… and my PLN feeds that passion. Thank you.
As I walked through the magnificent campus that I call my “work place”, I met up with some colleagues who were on their way to the pool. When they asked me what I’ve been doing this summer, I found myself relating my experiences with recent Twitter chats (#elemchat, but also #mathchat and #scichat) with a degree of animation and enthusiasm that startled even me. One person even said to me “Wow, I’d like to be a fifth grader next year!” Then, to top it off, I walked into my classroom and found beautiful, new furniture (pictures to come!) tables, book display unit… Magnificent! So… how many days until we start? My heart is thumping with eager anticipation. Thank you, #elemchat team, community and PLN for being there when walls were broken and for fueling the fire that powers my teaching.