Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Birds of Feather, Tweet (and Hangout) Together!

Preparing to return to the classroom for the fall, is prime time for inspiration! Normally, I reach out to my amazing PLN and schedule a few Skype calls to catch up with my peeps, brainstorm exciting projects, and share cool tools for school. This gets my mind ready to tackle the new school year and pumped to try out new approaches that will improve my practice. I am a connected person. I live and breathe my job and can't get enough of learning. If you know me, you know that I get very excited at the thought of connecting with my Tweeps (My fellow teachers on Twitter)! And this year, I decided to spread my joy in connecting by inviting more folks to my "Brainstorming Party."

One of my go-to Tweeps for these brainstorming sessions is @amusone. We have connected for years via Twitter and have done several collaborative projects with our students via Skype. She was also the first person I tried Google Hangouts with. We have switched over to Hangouts to continue our annual summer brainstorming and invited @ellication to our session. I was blown away by the neat tools that @ellication shared and was thrilled to collaborate on a special project we have in store for our students this year (more to come later). But perhaps what I most enjoyed from our chat is the level of enthusiasm we have for our students in creating a space for them to own their learning.

Other Hangouts that I was looking forward to this summer were with my gifted education crew. These Hangouts were inspired by one of my favorite gifted education teachers, @bdlasher. She and I connected on Twitter and via our class blogs, which eventually blossomed into our summer brainstorming sessions. This year I took it a step further and invited @edu_ms_pagano, @mrlemere, and @teachagiftedkid to our Hangout.
Gifted Guru Hangout
In a nutshell: Our lively discussion went from organizing Maker Spaces to taking our kids' independent research projects to the next level. We even kept notes on a shared Google Doc that included links and resources we use in our own planning (Thank you, @ellication for the idea!). It was invigorating to learn from my crew and experience the collaboration in action! What is even more refreshing is the fact that all the tips and resources shared were vetted because they come from folks I trust.

I hope my fellow Tweechers benefited from our Hangouts as much as I did. We are fortunate to live in a time where technology can easily bring us together to bounce ideas and find other educators who "get us." I would love to continue our Gifted Guru Hangouts throughout the school year, especially since others from my PLN have asked to join us. So let's make it happen! Feel free to leave your Twitter handle in the comments or reach out to me via Twitter by clicking here.

*Shout Out: I wanted to acknowledge @mcoaty for chatting with me via a Hangout. We had our own chat about all things related to Math enrichment and collaborative/tech-integrated projects for our students. He is definitely my go-to person as I plan for my Math enrichment group! I am hoping he will join us for our next Gifted Guru Hangout.

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