Teachers for Teachers | Our First Twitter Chat – Don Graves – Children Want to Write
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Our First Twitter Chat – Don Graves – Children Want to Write

Well, we participated in our first twitter book chat last night – #DonGraves. It was a learning experience on so many levels. Our learning began about 60 minutes before the session with us asking each other, “Do you know how to do this?” Immediately panicked we Google searched – twitter chat. We found a very helpful YouTube video but it referenced a tool – tweeterchat that was shut down –much to our dismay. “Now what? Franki – she’ll know what to do!” We sent a text to Franki Sibberson pleading for support. We then received a reply that was in a completely foreign language to us including feeds, hashtags, and twitter chat etiquette. What is a hashtag? Where do you put the hashtag? Is there really a way to offend people on twitter? We spent some time problem solving and we felt prepared to give it a go.

Two minutes in — we were completely overwhelmed. Tweets were coming at us so quickly we could barely read them let alone process the messages. We were out of our zone of proximal development! Thank goodness we were together – we needed to scaffold each other. We tried to just slow down, take a breath, and be open to learning in a new way. We sent our first tweet—it worked!! Then we tried retweeting—okay not so bad. We were on a roll. As we gained confidence in using the learning tool we realized we did not need to worry so much about reading everything. Then we started to notice the patterns in the ideas and reflections of the participants. At 30 minutes in we were starting to hit a stride. We felt less pressured. We found we did have time to think. All of the tweets were coming together to tell of story of response to this book.

This morning we began our day by reflecting on the process of learning through a twitter chat. We started by first talking about Twitter. What is it? How do you use it? How do you use it to learn? Twitter only allows so many characters. It seems that you have to carefully choose your words to communicate your ideas. We decided to use this idea of limited words to synthesize our learning around Don Graves last night. We gave ourselves one minute to just brainstorm words or phrases that stuck with us from the twitter book chat. Here is what we came up with:

-Lean in and listen
-Choice
-Time
-Live the writerly life
-Kids want to write
-Revolutionary thinking
-Timelessness of Don’s work
– Don as a reflective practitioner
-Trust in teachers and students
-Gentle listener

That minute led to a great conversation about our own practice and how and when and where we will begin to use this book and his ideas in our work. We brainstormed how to weave some of his research into our professional development sessions and began to think about how we can also use his work as teacher as researcher in our own work. Professional learning communities are a great venue for this idea of teacher as researcher. We want to begin to try this and see how it works for our collaborative learning with schools. We are wondering if it will feel different if we name our learning as “teacher as researcher.” We look forward to finding out.

Have you read Children Want to Write? We would love to hear your thoughts and reflections. If you haven’t read it, you might want to check it out.  You can also see the archive of the twitter chat on Christopher Lehman’s blog.

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