Learning About Twitter Chats
I have had a classroom Twitter account for years, and I love it. I think it is the easiest way to send information to parents. Using a Twitter account is an easy way to share everything that you do in the classroom. It is simple. Take a quick photo and write something that is less than 140 characters.When you start to use Twitter, the kids begin to come up with the tweets too.
Right now, I don’t have a classroom and a group of parents following me on my twitter account, I have been changing the way I use Twitter. I do Tweet things at my job, but it’s not the same.
For years, I have been thinking of participating in a Twitter chat. I finally became brave enough to do it. My only regret is that I wish I did it sooner. So if you have a Twitter account, and you’re a newbie like me, I encourage you to think strongly about taking the plunge.
I was extremely nervous about doing it. I am not sure why? It is not as if the other person sees you, I guess it’s the idea of communicating with strangers and communicating in real time.
Although hesitant, I wanted to experience it first hand because I have read so many blog posts of amazing educators who learn so much from these Twitter chats.
If you read my blog regularly, you know that I love TCRWP, and I could see that they hosted a conversation every week on Twitter. Every week that has gone by this fall, I have had Twitter Chat regret. Why didn’t I do that shared reading, interactive chat last night?
So a few weeks ago, I took the plunge and joined a Twitter Chat with Fountas and Pinnell on Interactive Writing. I loved it, but it was overwhelming. I definitely made mistakes, and I had problems with my Twitter account.
When you take part in a Twitter chat,
the host puts in a question, and you have a hashtag (# ) to follow. You read the question, and you respond. It seems easy, but it’s hard at first. If you have been hesitant to join a chat, I strongly urge you to do it. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Here are Tips to Help you Get Started
1. If you have a Twitter account, you can also join Tweet Deck on your computer(only computer not your I pad). It is free. If you enter Tweet Deck, you can still go back to the regular way of looking at your account. Tweet Deck lets you create columns for an easier way to follow the chat. I was hesitant because I thought if I tried Tweet deck and I didn’t like it, I would be stuck using it.
2. Attempt to get a friend to do it with you. After my first chat, I asked a friend (who had an account but never used it) to participate with me the next time I did a chat, and we have been tweeting together since.
We were both confused, but we were texting and reflecting on how to do it (while doing the chat). Supporting each other gave us the courage to take part in the chat and laugh at the experiences. It was good to know, that I wasn't the only one who felt confused and a little overwhelmed.
3. Try a few different chats. Some topics can be crazy busy and others not so much. I liked the pace of the Sunday at eight first grade chat. Chats last for one hour.
4. You could always watch a chat before you participate in one. For example on Wednesday nights Teacher College has a 7:30 chat. At 7:30 put the hashtag #TCWRP in, you can read all the tweets that go with that chat. Watching it first can be helpful.
5. The person who moderates the chat will put Q1. And write the question. When you answer, you are supposed to put A1.
6. When you see something you like, click the heart, and that will bookmark into your favorites. You can go back to your favorites another time.
7. If you see something, you like you can retweet it. You will see people person retweeting and adding comments to the retweet; that is something new for me and still a bit confusing.
8. Try a few different chats, I have found that the pace and style can be very different so be open minded.
My friend and I were confused and had to spend days figuring out how to get on Tweet Deck and Google stuff about chats.
The thing is, when you do participate in one, you’ll love it.
You know the feeling you get when you go to a great workshop, and you have this excitement inside, and you can’t wait to get back and teach? I think Twitter chats give you that feeling. You walk away with lots of things to consider and ideas to do in your class and a sense of being connected to other educators who feel as passionate about teaching as you do.
I am still trying to figure out the different chats and hope to share them with you. Here a few that I think are great to start with #teacherfriends, #kinderchart, #wonderchat and #1stchat.
Joyfully yours in tweets and chatter,