#MakerSpace Camp with @TheEdCollab (it’s going to be awesome)

Over at The Educator Collaborative, we’ve put together an event I’m so excited about.  If you don’t already follow @TheEdCollab or subscribe to our mailing list (TheEducatorCollaborative.com/contact-us) here are the details:

Two nights of making growing  exploring + true STE(A)M learning!

 

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Explore the world of the Maker Movement, Makerspaces, and truly engaging STEAM instruction, with us! For dabbling beginners and advanced practitioners.
Literacy-minded or tech-integrated.  K-12+
Teachers, coaches, administrators, library-media specialists and more!
If you hold kids at the core of your teaching, this is the event for you

 

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(Streamed Free To Everyone!  Yes!  Free!)

 

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Sunday, March 29

Laura Fleming

Member of The Educator Collaborative Team and author of Worlds of Making: Best Practices for Establishing a Makerspace for Your School

 

Monday, March 30

Troy Hicks

 

Author of Crafting Digital WritingCreate, Compose, Connect! and The Digital Writing Workshop

 •●#TheEdCollabMaker●•

 

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Kits designed by The Educator Collaborative and our event partner Table Top Inventing

✧MakerKits For Cadets Only:

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Sunday night: Dive into the kit and “make” right along with us!

☼ Monday morning: Try out “making” at your school!

☺︎ Monday day and night: share your “maker” inventions using #TheEdCollabMaker

Kit includes beginner supplies: paper cut templates, aluminum wire, clothes pins, clips, magnets, batteries and a class set of LED “blinkey lights” and more.  The kit is designed for one participant and one “class set” of additional items for use on Monday.  Additional items may be purchased anytime from our event partner Table Top Inventing.

We’ll invite you to supply a few creative items, too. That SECRET MISSION will come in the weeks before the MAKER SPACE CAMP.

 

✬MakerKits and Advanced Learning For Admirals Only:

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✪✪✪✪ In Four, Follow-Up Sessions with Laura Fleming: Dive more deeply into the world of making. Exploring STE(A)M concepts that will take your making and makerspaces into the stratosphere.

Kit includes advanced supplies: LEDs, speakers, an oscillator board, an “Arduino” Board, and more.  The kit is designed for one advanced participant.  Additional items may be purchased anytime from  our event partner Table Top Inventing.

We’ll invite you to supply a few creative items, too. That TOP SECRET MISSION will come before your first FOLLOW-UP MEETING.

Admirals will join Laura Fleming for 4 additional, online, group learning sessions!

Four online sessions beyond the Maker Space Camp:

  • April 17th,
  • April 24th,
  • May 15th,
  • and June 5th

When registering, you will select your Group:

  • Group Alpha meets online 3-4PM EST/Noon-1PM PST
  • Group Beta meets online 5-6PM EST/3-4PM PST

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In addition to Laura Fleming and Troy Hicks, we are excited to be joined by these special guests!

➢ Making as a Path to­—and Beyond—the CCSS and ISTE Standards

ziemkeChris Lehman Author PhotoChristopher Lehman, Founding Director, author of several popular books include Falling in Love with Close Reading (with Kate Roberts) and Energize Research Reading and Writing

➢ Play-Based Game Design Methods for Fun and Intellectually Engaging Instruction

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 J84A1180An Institute of Play “Making” Event

➢ “A Scoptti logoe and Sequence of Making”: From Leading Kids, To Giving Them The Lead

  • Steve Kurti, Research Physicist and “Chief Maker and Mad Scientist” at Table Top Inventing

 

And special guests: Laura’s own New Milford High School students!

▸▷>>>>REGISTER HERE<<<<◀︎◁

 Three Levels of Registration! ❖

 

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REGISTRATION DATES:

  • February 24: Mailing List Members receive the Priority Registration Code (Join Mailing List!)
  • February 26: @TheEdCollab will begin tweeting the Priority Code (Follow Us!)
  • March 2: Registration goes live to the General Public (Link will appear Here)

Seats are limited at “Cadet” and “Admiral” levels. Waitlist available once seats are filled.

 

More information is available on our MakerSpace Camp page (link).

 

▸▷>>>>REGISTER HERE<<<<◀︎◁

Special Thanks to Our Event Partners:

Table Top Inventing

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and

Institute of Play

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Co-hosting #NCTEchat w Meenoo Rami on 3/16 8pmET

March 2014 chat

I’m looking forward to joining Meenoo Rami on March 16 when we co-host NCTE’s #nctechat!  We will be facilitating a discussion on professional collaboration (one of my favorite topics!). These group twitter discussions are always loads of fun and incredibly inspirational.

New to tweet chats? Here is my how-to post.

So You Think You Want to Tweet Chat

Also, if you missed Kate Roberts and I co-hosting #nyedchat this past week, the archive can be found here. We led a conversation on teaching reading in NYS, where we are now and where we could be. Tons of educators (not only from New York) joined in to talk about the opportunities and challenges of state level initiatives around reading. Kate and I spoke right after about how energizing the conversation felt, how inspired we felt by the ideas being shared.

Hope to see you online Sunday night!

Guest Post: My New “Talks With Teachers” Interview

I find Brian Sztabnik‘s mission with his new “Talks with Teachers” series to be so inspiring.

Brian set out to capture the voices of our profession through interviewing inspiring educators. Now in the form of a a weekly podcast (ranking continuously in the “Top 5” iTunes K-12 podcasts), Brian’s “Talks with Teachers” interviews a wide range of educators.  In an engaging format he digs into educators’ stories of becoming teachers, their professional struggles, and their practical advice for all of us.

I loved hearing how Carol Jago started out and Grant Wiggins’ early career bought of laryngitis–these are stories we have not hear before and love the feeling as if we’re sitting down for a cup of coffee with teachers from across the country.

You can follow the link here to my new interview or click the image below.

click to go to my interview (image from TalksWithTeachers.com)

This is a podcast series you’ll want to subscribe to (subscribe via iTunes at this link) and a website you’ll want to bookmark. I found myself falling down the internet rabbit hole and listening to every episode!

Hats off to Talks With Teachers for sharing the joy and inspiration of educators for educators. Our profession is full of powerful stories. I’m thankful for the amazing community we all form.

Your Work, Your Kids, Your Ideas: Beyond Falling in Love with #CloseReading

A quick note today to say that I sometimes have to pinch myself when I think of how lucky I am to be a part of our education community. My heart and mind grows with every interaction, in person or through twitter and blogs.

I’ve been having a blast hearing some of the ideas and stories coming from studies of my newest book with Kate Roberts, Falling in Love with Close Reading.  It’s Kate and my hope that you find our book inspirational and practical. Equally, it is our hope that you grow well beyond it’s pages while you collaborate, talk, revise, and bridge our ideas to your own next studies and steps.  We don’t see the book as a strict regiment, but instead as one path from which we hope many more will grow.

by Gtapp used under Creative Commons lic

Here are a few examples of recent posts and tweets of educators, like you, developing new ideas, making your own exciting connections.  We love hearing these and hope you will share more.

Ongoing Twitter Community #FILWCloseReading

The hashtag #FILWCloseReading is alive and well.  Fran, Alison, and Laura are hosting a follow up chat, on December 9, to continue the conversation (unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, Kate and I are presenting together on Close Reading in Upstate NY, with only a few seats left, on that day and will most likely be in the air and miss it! We’ll read the archives and connect after, we promise.)

Many of you are also continuing to tweet using the hashtag. We love following your thinking and answering your questions or responding to comments.

Falling in Love With Close Reading cover

Posts and Tweets on Next Steps and Growing Ideas after Reading FILWCR

Tara Smith, one of the new contributors to the dynamic Two Writing Teachers blog write about how Close Reading can support Close Writing. It’s a gorgeous post full of practical inspiration.

Fran McVeigh shares the development of her personal quest to study close reading in this post.

Then, follow the link below to Laura Komos’ Storify archive of Monday night’s #FILWCloseReading chat.

It’s so wonderful to learn along with all of you.  Thanks for all you do, everyday, on behalf of your students.[View the story “#FILWCloseReading chat” on Storify]

What would you tell the world about the #CommonCore and your classroom?

by Kevin M. Gill used under Creative Commons lic

Your ears may have been ringing as I am find myself quoting posts from the blog-a-thon continuously, “…that Fran McVeigh post, wow it got me thinking….”.

All of this got me thinking, so I’m trying a little experiment here…

Whenever I present at speaking engagements I bring research, my firsthand experience in classrooms, and the ideas of fellow educators I talk and work alongside.  Over the next few weeks I have several large keynotes coming up (dates are at the end of this post) talking Common Core State Standards myths and opportunities.

In each of these I plan to bring what I always bring, but I am thinking I would love to bring bits of your experiences, too.

Educators in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa), for example, will largely attend from American curriculum schools. They are brand new to looking at the CCSS and also not held by the testing machine we have here. What would you tell them about the pitfalls to avoid or the joyful teaching you are doing?

At UW-Madison, anyone anywhere will tune in because it will be live and live-streamed. What do you want to tell the public about the changes in your school, both the overwhelming and the fascinating?

by One Way Stock used under Creative Commons lic

This is completely an experiment, usually everything I gather is from face-to-face with kids and educators, but twitter and our blog-a-thon has changed my sense of what is possible when educators are connected. I’d like to bring your knowledge and experiences to others.

So here’s my pitch:

With your permission, I’d love to include some of your voices in these upcoming speaking engagements.  Send your anecdotes, links, images, that you would like me to consider sharing in a few ways: as comments on this post, via my twitter handle, or to this email: iChrisLehman(at)gmail with the subject line “Talking Common Core”. For student work or photos you would like to send, I will send you a parent/guardian permission slip to be completed before use.

I’m especially collecting experiences around three themes:

  • “We are tired…” take this as either physically/emotionally tired because of X, Y, Z or action-oriented as “I am tired of being told…. when actually my students…. see look!”  These could be bashing or supportive or somewhere in the middle.  Such as “I am tired of everyone saying students can’t write, when my team and I studied the CCSS together and really made an effort to teach skills not just assign work we found…” or “I am tired of being told some texts are worthy and others are not, I find in my classroom that…”
  • “There is no one way…” I think it’s important to both critique those promising the “ANSWER TO EVERYTHING” comes from the CCSS and to critique those comparing it to “THE END OF DAYS.” One essential point I continue to raise is that everyone’s experience with “implementation” is not the same. Yes, there are classrooms that are forced into a one-size-fits-all approach (please share those stories) but there are equally classrooms and schools that are using the standards as a study while still holding onto the practices they love and work well for students (share those, too).
  • “Our students are our curriculum…” What are ways you are helping your students drive your instruction? This could be “data” in an overwhelming way, or inventions you and your colleagues are making to gather usable assessments, or ways you continue to reach beyond the standards, or anything else.
  • Your inspiration, challenges, solutions, and so on!

So again, if any ideas speak to you I’d love anecdotes, links, anything that you would share with other educators about your experiences. I’ll weave many into these upcoming speaking engagements.

It would be great to see you in person at any of these events as well. Also, the UW-Madison event is free and streamed-live, registration is at the link below.

 October 25, Cleveland, OH. Invited Keynote. Cleveland State University’s Annual Reading Conference: “Growing Literacy from the Core.” Register: here.

November 1-2, Dubai, UAE. “MENA Common Core Conference.” Invited Keynote and Session Speaker. Register:here.

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November 5-6, New Orleans, LA. The Leadership and Learning Center’s “Common Core State Standards Summit 2.0: Getting Ready for the Next Generation Assessments,” Invited Keynote and Panelist. Register:here.

November 20, Madison, WI. Evening Invited Keynote during the University Wisconsin-Madison’s American Educators Week. FREE registration to attend live or online: here.

Archive from tonight’s #DonGraves chat

What a moving conversation tonight for the #DonGraves chat. Thanks to Penny Kittle and Tom Newkirk for this project.  It was fun hosting with Donalyn Miller and Penny and seeing so many of you come out to talk about Don’s legacy, his vision, and to share inspiration.

The archive is below, I plan to look back between that, the book and DVD for new insights.

Listening matters, conversation matters, and it’s great to have both with all of you and this vibrant education community we are within!

Chat Archives

Storify version of the archive

Google Docs version of archive (thanks Sarah Mulhern Gross for your help with this!)

 

#DonGraves trending on twitter…

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Middle/High School Teachers Apply for a Book Love Foundation Library

Penny Kittle has been announcing on twitter that applications are now open for her organization, Book Love Foundation‘s classroom library grant.  Applications are due very soon, July 1st!

Open to Middle and High School teachers, it is an amazing opportunity to give access to books to your students and–quite literally–change their lives.

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Access the application (due July 1st!) from the Book Love Foundation website or here.

Give the Gift of Reading

Penny  tells me that soon Book Love Foundation will be accepting donations and fundraising will take place later this year. This way even more classrooms can be supported. Be on the lookout for these updates!

Nerdy Book Club Guest Post: Reading is Dumb. There, I Said It.

Colby Sharp and Cindy Minnich  invited me to guest post on the Nerdy Book Club, one of the web’s go-to communities for all things book love: recommendations, author posts, reader posts, inspiration, even their own awards.

So in honor of the whole Nerdy Crew being in my virtual PLN (and I in theirs), their dedication to books and getting books into kids hands, and their rapidly growing book loving community I thought I’d write them a guest post entitled “Reading is Dumb.  There, I Said It.”

And you are welcome, people.

Photo by shutterhacks. I took some liberties...
Photo by shutterhacks. I took some liberties…

Love books too? Want to guest post with Nerdy?  Just go to their page and click the big-ol-button on their sidebar to share your interest.

Enjoy.

A Must Read from Scott Rocco

Scott Rocco is co-moderator of what is fast becoming one of my favorite chats (even despite the fact that it is at the bitter early morning hour of 7:30AM Saturday… though does repeat on West Coast time at 7:30 PST.  So, technically there are no excuses for an East Coaster like me).

What I find so appealing about #satchat is not just that it is a group of [mostly] educational administrators using their weekend morning hours to talk more education, but that it has become a place for extremely positive and uplifting problem solving.  This past Saturday, for example the topic was:

A morning spent considering ways of recognizing teachers and students?  Lead by administrators?  It’s better than coffee… a point I think I make every #satchat I am able to join. It truly is a jolt of energy at the end of the week, just read the #satchat archives for examples.  (If you are new to Twitter Chats my how-to tips are here.)

http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2012/09/a-look-inside-satchat-by-co-founder.html

Scott also has a very active blog “Evolving Educators” in which he shares his efforts to support the learning of his staff, peers, as well as his personal ever-evolving instructional practices.  I find his blog just as positive and supportive as the chat he co-leads, woven with a belief in every child and every adult.

  • This post on his district’s efforts to embrace tools for being more connected (including tools I only just learned of through this post.)
  • This one, his advice to other ed leaders: don’t forget what it was like to be in the classroom.
  • Or this, that as I think of all the districts taking on technology initiative feels like perfect timing for thoughtful values to keep in mind.

I’d encourage anyone to join #satchat… yes, even at 7:30AM (I promise you’ll forget what time it is a few minutes in)… and subscribe to Scott Rocco’s Evolving Educators.

Happy evolving!

Research Instruction: Who Decided It Should Be A Tremendous Bore?

Please transport me back to the exact moment and exact person who thought, “I know, let’s make teaching research skills the most awful experience possible.” I’d like to give that person a piece of my mind.

What are we doing? Research is incredible. Look around yourself right now: every single thing you own, are wearing, are eating, are talking on or tapping on, came from someone or some group of someones researching, studying, communicating new findings with one another, and developing all of it. All. Of. It.

Research is tremendously empowering. Don’t like the price of that used car the salesperson is offering you? Research. Wondering if there are other ways of dealing with a disease? Research! Baby on the way? Research. iPhone-this or Galaxy-that? Research. Where to eat, where to go, how do I unclog this drain, what song is on this commercial, what do mosquitoes do anyway, what good book should I read next, flipped classrooms are what exactly, how do I help my readers,… Research!

So why, then, is the first image that pops into many people’s minds (and I have asked a lot of people): students, or themselves as students, recopying book information onto little cards (e.g. photocopying) and then recopying the information from those little cards onto paper and doing so in the approximate shape of paragraphs (e.g. photocopying), ending in a horrific inferno of last minute final draft making, that–when all is said and done–results in the answer, “I dunno,” to the question, “so what have you learned about this topic?”

We are better than this, people. Rise up teachers. Rise up.

I undertook this mission, to rescue research, and began in an obvious (and Dr. Suess-ian) way: by researching research to rescue research by teaching kids researching in the way we all research. This resulted in my new book: Energize Research Reading and Writing. In researching for, and during the process of, writing the book I came to some new understandings of what we are mostly doing now in the name of research and what changes we can make (or some are making) that can dramatically transform both how we teach and students’ relationship to these skills. I would like to share three essential moves in this post:

1. Stop Handing Out So Much Stuff

The Common Core has devoted an entire strand of the Writing standards to research (7, 8, 9):

© Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved.

and the tests that are chugging on down the track toward us aim to make research skills a big portion of how students are assessed (PARCC-one of the three performance tasks and SMARTER Balanced-see page 17-18). Meaning, students will be expected to be independent with these skills, not co-dependent. Not expecting us to dole out each bit.

So one place to start is actually to stop. To stop assigning specific topics or ways those topics should specifically unfold (“on page three describe the state bird and draw a picture of it, on page four write three facts about the state’s agriculture…”). Also, stop handing out the sources students should use. Instead teach them the very habits you use when you think, “We’re having a baby… now what??”:

  • You start broad, let your possible topic guide you to possible sources.
  • Then let those sources guide you to a more specific focus.
  • Repeat as necessary.

The start of research is like dating: you really only know what you are looking for after you have been looking for awhile.

Chapter 2 of my book describes this in way more detail and is a free read here.

2. Take Notes On Your Mind, Not Your Book

We need to cure the I am pretending to take notes but actually I am just copying everything disease or its related strain I am mostly just writing down numbers I come across but I don’t know why virus.

A way to do this is to shift students’ perceptions away from taking notes on books to taking notes on our minds. More specifically:

  • First, read and focus on what you are learning
  • Then, stop and look away from the text
  • Next, take notes on your learning, ideally without looking at the book at all
  • Finally, perhaps, look briefly back to see if there is something really essential you missed such as “domain specific language” you could use in place of other words – a la Common Core.

It takes a bit of practice, even sometimes an overly exaggerated policing-coaching, “nope, nooooo notes now, just read.” or “now before you write any notes, teach me about your topic, tell me what you just learned….. …great! now right that down in the same way.” I call this strategy Read, Cover and Jot, Reread. It’s cousin is Read, Cover and Sketch, Reread for students that just won’t stop copying: if they are reading text, take notes in sketches and labels; if looking at a diagram, take notes in words.

3. Add a New Process Step: Teach-Through-Writing

Lastly, to counteract dry, dull or I didn’t really learn anything even though I wrote 8 pages research writing, I argue that we need to add a new step in the research writing process.

  • What Happens now: students tend to jot notes [from books], then write a draft.
  • Instead: we need to jot notes [from our mind], then experiment with a variety ways of teaching those ideas and facts through writing, ONLY THEN draft–drawing on the best experiments.

One example is you have a fact or few – say “cuttlefish subdue their prey by making their skin flash” – you can experiment with how you will teach that fact:

  • try making surprising comparisons: “If you have ever been around a strobe light, perhaps in a haunted house or at a school dance, you know how they can both mesmerize and disorient you. Cuttlefish use a similar technique to make their prey freeze long enough to be caught. They actually make their skin pulsate a lot like those lights.”
  • try teaching instead by creating a story: “A cuttlefish swims slowly through the ocean, a small crustacean crawls into view. Lunch! The cuttlefish approaches slowly, but cannot let the fast moving crustacean escape. So, he extends two large tentacles and starts flashing. The small prey looks up and is instantly so confused it freezes in place. Just long enough for the cuttlefish to SNAP! Catch it.”

These are just two examples of this type of teaching-through-writing. In working with students, I was amazed at how this shift in the process not only lead to students doing better and more interesting writing, it also helps them continue to learn about their topic because they continue to manipulate it in a variety of ways–all with their readers in mind.

Let’s Talk More About Rescuing Research

On Monday, Oct 1st at 7PM EST I guest moderated #Engchat (YAY!) with the topic “Teach Students to Research, Not Regurgitate.” The archive (and a funny story) is at my post: “I Broke Twitter. And It Was Worth It.”

My book on this topic, Energize Research Reading and Writing, is available at book sellers like Heinemann, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble.

As always, leave comments or tweet me, I’d love to hear ways you are helping students have the excitement and deep learning that real research provides.

A Must Read from Matt Renwick

Donalyn Miller just tweeted a post from Principal Matt Renwick, from his blog “Reading By Example

The particular post is a thoughtful analogy about teaching reading and writing drawn from forgetting his swimsuit and watching his family splash around from the sidelines. A metaphor after my own heart.

Which led me to surf around the rest of his blog and now I’m a subscriber.

I mean…. how awesome is this? (Answer: very awesome).

And this? (Answer: extremely awesome).

A principal that he spends time nearly every day READING to students in classrooms!  And writing all the time!

Inspiring leadership inspires.

So You Think You Want to Tweet Chat: From Lurker to Chatter 101

This post is intended to help anyone who has been a twitter lurker (some of my favorite people are still lurkers) into being a twitter chatter.

An older edweek post circulated on Twitter today: Why Educators Should Join Twitter.  In it Peter describes that in his early-to-Twitter, are-you-really-sure-this-is-for-me uncertainty, he suddenly became converted after joining a twitter chat (in his case the terrific #elemchat).  As you probably know, I’ve become a bit of a twitter evangelist myself, professing it’s power everywhere I go and for me, just as with Peter, joining in chats has been not only powerful professional development but also emotionally uplifting in those times that I find myself in a deep funk.  Like this recent #edchat archive, where I left the hour feeling amazing.

I’d like to share how I set myself up for an education chat on twitter to help you do the same.

Go from Twitter Lurker to Twitter Chatter

And just so you know, I personally think this post would be a million times better if it were actually a 1950s educational video on a grainy black and white film reel, but we’ll do the best we can.

(I’m very proud of that graphic, everyone.)

Step One: Find a Chat

Chats are typically one hour discussions, usually on a regular schedule (like every Wednesday at 9pmCST). Think of them as a party of smart people that you are mingling within, not as a typical workshop.  There are many people meeting to talk about a topic (depending on the facilitation they could be conversations led with questions or just very open) but it is nearly impossible to pay attention to all comments.  So your first step is just finding a topic you want to mingle about and the time the party takes place.  Here are some helpful ways:

  • Cybraryman (he calls himself a twitter librarian) has a very thorough twitter chat page: http://cybraryman.com/chats.html
  • Here’s a non-education-specific list from ReadWriteWeb that is a touch outdated but many of the chats are still active.
  • Or I often find chats when suddenly everyone in my twitter stream is using the same hashtag…

Step Two: Set Up

I like to have both my computer and phone, though you could do this with one or the other.  I find it helpful to have three websites open on my laptop:

  • I  have my phone next to me, using the Twitter App.  This seems to help me notice when someone has sent me a direct reply (more on this later in the post).
  • What’s nice about tweetchat (and there may be other clients, please feel free to suggest in the comments) is that it automatically follows that hashtag for you , meaning it only shows tweets that include that hashtag in it’s text.  It also automatically puts the hashtag in for you when you type, saving the correct number of characters automatically.  Like so (note – if your mobile browser is not displaying the images below, be sure to view on “Full Site”):

Log-in. Type in the # to follow (in this example #edchat). You can even adjust the refresh rate.

Type what you want to say into the box – you must stop at or before “0” characters left.

Et voilà, tweetchat plugs in the hashtag for you when you hit “update”.

As an alternative, you can do a similar move inside of the Twitter App by clicking “Discover”. Just be sure to click “All” in order to see everyone’s tweets, not just from those you follow. And note: while in “discover” the app will put in the hashtag for you, outside of that you need to remember to type it in yourself.

Step Three: Chat!

Depending on the size of the chat, it can sometimes feel really overwhelming.  My advice: start by replying to individual people.  In a very large chats it’s often easier to have small conversations than to try and follow the whole room — as I said earlier, think of it like mingling at a dinner party, not attending a workshop with a main speaker.

Advanced Tweet Chatting Tips

Here are a few more tips that help me (I’d love for you to add any others in the comments).

  • Mind your Qs and As. Some chat hosts list questions in an order: Q1, Q2, Q3…  And then participants can indicate which question they are responding to with A1 (for Q1) , A2 (for Q2), and so on.  If you come late to a chat watch a bit to see if there is a numbering system (not all have them), so you can be on the lookout for the next question.
  • Adding links for others. In the Twitter App you just need to type in the link and Twitter automatically shortens it (HootSuite does the same, as do a few other apps). Tweetchat for some reason does not, so that’s why it helps to have that 3rd page open – bit.ly or tinyurl.com or whatever other url shortener.  You just plop your mamoth url address in and it makes it use less characters.

Bit.ly for example turned this

Into this

Same link (56 characters) christopherlehman.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/the-book-gap/ , shortened (now only 13 characters) bit.ly/Py7t2h

  • Keeping track of links people post. I often find it hard to both follow a chat and open links, so many people use the “favorite” feature (the little star in the Twitter App and on Tweetchat) to hold something you want to read for later.
  • Keeping track of the fast moving conversation. Two bits of advice:
    • One, as I mentioned earlier in the post: in tweetchat, adjust the “refresh” speed.
    • Two, have your phone next to you using the Twitter App, it helps so much. For example, I have my iPhone set up to buzz me and preview a twitter reply to me (called “mentions”).  So in a busy chat if my phone buzzes, it’s an audible notice that someone said something directly to me in the room. I’ll look for it on the Tweetchat screen or if the chat is really busy, I’ll just pick up my phone and chat with that person through my Twitter App (note: in that case you have to remember to write in the hashtag yourself or it won’t show up in the main “room” for everyone).

You Can Always Read the Archive Later

If you feel like you missed a lot in a chat – which is very likely.  Look for (or ask the person hosting for) a link to the archive of the chat.  To be honest, I find them impossible to read in any logical way because it is often just a literal print out of every tweet, in order.  But you can still find a lot of really helpful advice and links. Just go into an archive thinking you’ll get a general sense of the chat and you will look for some helpful threads of conversation.

You Learn by Doing – and messing up is okay

Like anything, it just becomes easier the more you do it.

I hope to see you in twitter chats soon, not just lurking but sharing. Feel free to tweet me if you have questions or need some advice on chatting – or to any one for that matter already in a chat.  I find every education conversation I join in to be warm, welcoming, and supportive. All of us actively chatting in the education community on twitter really, really, really would like you to join us.  So don’t fear messing up–we’ve all done it before.

Happy chatting!

________

Follow Chris on Twitter and his Blog.

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A Must Read from Vicki Vinton

I’ve heard so much about Vicki Vinton’s education blog. I’ve loved her other work and today just started following in earnest – and already I’m inspired. In her most recent post she reminds me – though I think all of us in our political world – that the internet is full of educators blogging, tweeting, thinking together. She shows this beautifully by pairing thoughtful prior blog comments with images.

I’m hooked, a subscriber now, consider doing the same.

Here is her post “On Teachers & Learners & the First Day of School”:

http://tomakeaprairie.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/on-teachers-learners-the-first-day-of-school/#comment-523