Below is a list of hashtags that I am following on Twitter. This is the first time I’ve used Twitter as a social media outlet for professional development. Each hashtag lists three specific things, resources, or ideas that I have learned by following them. Finally, I will share my thoughts for using Twitter an outlet for professional development.
#STEM I chose the STEM hashtag so I could find resources to incorporate STEM into my science curriculum. I’m also changing my History Club into a STEM Club. The first resource I found interesting is called “The absence of internet at home is a problem for some students” by Matthew Lynch. It discusses how the lack of internet at home has caused students the inability to complete homework. This is a real problem in my classroom, so this resource was quite helpful. Another great article I found is called “Early- grades science: the first key STEM opportunity” by Madeline Will. It proposes that students should be exposed to STEM at an earlier age. Finally, I found an article called “Women are closing the participation gap in science, but slowly” by Kyle Plantz. This week I helped out at a STEM camp at my school. Out of 24 students that attended, we had six girls. The article includes an animation that predicts when the gender gap will disappear in specific fields. Computer science, for example, will take about 300 years at the rate we are going to disappear.
#6thchat I am a sixth-grade teacher and I’m always looking for new ideas or resources that will help improve my teaching or classroom management. The first resource I found was a blog called “In the Middle” where the author discusses what to do or not do on the first day of school. As I read through the DON’TS, I realized that I need to change things up a little for next year. Another post that I found interesting was a discussion about a new book that has come out called “Breakout” by Kate Messner. I’ve had a class library in the past, but the books kept disappearing. However, after reading the review I might want to start it back up again. There are many posts about trying new websites, like quill.org, or someone will post a question to the group and anyone can answer the question to help others find resources.
#middlesci Since I teach science in a middle school, I wanted to be able to connect with other middle school science teachers. One resource that I found from Amplify, a science book publisher, Amplify, was a webinar on treating reading as an act of inquiry. Next year the students will be assigned textbooks that they can write in and this method would be a great approach to approach reading. Amplify had another webinar resource that helped teachers bring argumentation (part of the NGSS), into the classroom. This helps to build on what the students are learning in ELA. Whenever we can help make connections in other subjects for our students, they will succeed. I found free virtual field trips sponsored by the Nature Conservancy. One of the field trips was from the America’s rain forest to America’s deserts. Another trip was through the grasslands and deserts of Africa.
#NGSSchat This year my school district has approved the Next Generation Science Standards and I am interested in finding resources that will help me teach the standards more efficiently. One resource that I found was through Stanford Education. They have created NGSS-aligned project-based learning units. Through a resource called “How to avoid known pitfalls associated with culturally responsive instruction” by STEM teaching tools, I learned that I need to make connections to the students’ cultural knowledge and experiences to give the students a voice. I found resources for teaching Ecosystems that have been aligned to the NGSS that are project-based learning units from the Teaching Channel.
#PBL Last semester, I took Project-Based Learning and became interested in finding and creating more PBL, so following #PBL would give me more resources to reach my goals. One resource that I found provided a list of 15 sources of digital content for my classroom. One source was an international children’s digital library that contains over 4500 books in 59 languages. I found an article called, “The key to STEM achievement: answering the question.” It helps to answer the question that many students ask: when am I going to use this? Another article that I found was called “The 5 steps to implementing an app in the classroom.” It is an easy approach to consider if a teacher is trying to find an appropriate app for their classroom. I liked that it reminds us not to use apps just to add more technology, but to do your homework to see what will fit best.
I find the use of Twitter as a Professional Development tool quite useful. It is a one stop shop where I can go to find resources to help my teaching. It is a good resource to share with other members of my PLC so that we can help each other as we create common assessments or create a student-centered classroom. “Making professional connections via social networking can not only result in a lot of great sharing of ideas and resources, but also combat the sense of isolation that many teachers experience. It’s like having a professional development seminar at your fingertips 24/7, ready to discuss the educational issues that matter to you the most” (Caron, 2011). I also like the ease of use with the Tweetdeck, because I can search through the topics that interests me and not all over Twitter. This will be a resource that I will be using more frequently in the coming years.
Caron, S. (2011). Using Twitter for professional development. Education World. Retrieved from http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/using-twitter-for-professional-development.shtml