Saturday, March 29, 2014

Telling Our Story on Social Media

Recently I have challenged the staff at Bear Tavern Elementary School to engage in a variety of technology related activities to help expand the idea of technology as a curricular tool. The specifics of that challenge are fodder for another post; however, I would like to highlight a fantastic by-product of the challenge that has been playing out over the last several weeks.

One of the things that I asked the staff to consider is using Twitter for either personal professional development or to share the amazing things that are happening in their classrooms and the school. I offered several "sessions" on setting up a twitter account and following educators of interest. These sessions were well attended and various staff members who could not attend set up individual times to sit down and learn. For me, personally, this has been very rewarding because it has helped to provide an additional opportunity for me to teach and learn with my colleagues.

One of the major points that I have made in discussions with the staff is the idea of writing our own story. Our school has had the experience of reacting when others have written our story. Often these stories are negative ones relayed by those who are unhappy with something. While there are always going to be these types of stories, if they are the only ones out there, then that is the reality of what the world knows about your school. With this in mind, I have been encouraging the staff to tell the story of the amazing things that are happening inside our walls each day, one tweet at a time. It only takes seconds to post a note or a picture and a caption to relay the magic that happens constantly within our school. This message truly hit home for me after reading  Digital Leadership by Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal) and hearing him speak on the subject this winter. We want to be the authors of our own story!

As of today the following Bear Tavern teachers are on Twitter and many are actively sharing the things that they are doing in their classrooms.

Jill Leestma - @MrsLeestma
Ana Lopez: @atlc_a
Joslyn Johnson: @artrocksbt
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Liz Machado: @lizmachado68
Phyllis Bernard: @BernardALRALMEA
Lori Ayres: @MrsAyresClass
Paula Muhlbauer: @IheartDewey
Lori Drake: @lbdteach
Janiene Baxter: @baxtersbuds
Shannon Mann: @SM_TeachBT
Kim Niefer: @MrsNiefersClass
Breanne Scullin: @MsScullin_BT
Connie McCann: @cmccannbt1
Jill Novak @jillnovakBT
Mandi Perez: @letsgo2lbi
Britt Dominick: @brittmariemusic
Bruce Arcurio: @PrincipalArc

Bear Tavern: @beartavernes

Not all of the above are actively tweeting on a regular basis; however, they are easing into it and I applaud them all. There are also several of the above mentioned teachers who have joined the Bear Tavern Twitter Team. This is a group who also have access to the Bear Tavern twitter account (the last one listed above) and help me tweet out things happening all over the school.

Twitter is not the main communication mode for our school. We still use the traditional channels for that (email blast, virtual backpack, online calendar, etc.); however, Twitter is becoming a way that parents and the community can get a real time glimpse into the day to day learning that is happening at our amazing school. For those who have not jumped into the the Twitter stream YET, we have also placed the school's twitter feed on our school webpage. I encourage you to follow any and all of the Twitter accounts above!

Now I look forward each day to see what amazing things get tweeted, because I can't be in all places at all times either!
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