Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Social Media and Solid Evidence Based Professional Development…Who Knew???

I just toppled head first into social media a couple years ago.  I have been blogging for three years on and off but just got into social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter within the last two years.  Since Disney Junior is on ALL of my television sets nearly all of the hours we are at home and awake…I keep up with the daily world through my social media outlets.  it works for me.  The kids are happy, I am happy.  Win Win.  This is all through the mom standpoint.  Begin teacher standpoint…PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA!!!  I got involved in a book study on Facebook last summer but it was just a few gals…the #theguidedreadinggals was our hashtag.  I was able to glean much from that study about the mechanics of guided reading and it helped me pace myself and read almost entirely through the book.  The title of that text was The Next Steps in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson.  Great read for someone new to readers workshop approach and the nuts and bolts of how to set and run guided reading in the classroom (or even in the homeschool model.)  It was a framework book and had solid structures. I needed a how to book because I felt like I had been spinning my wheels for a number of years and was really just tired of making too little progress for all the work I was putting in.  I don’t gain anything from posting the Amazon link to the book but it is worth having in your professional library.
next steps in guided reading
Fast forward a school year…I wanted and needed more for my professional growth plan.  The previous study gave me roots in accomplishing differentiated learning in my classroom…a place from which to grow. I had different levels for each of my students, we were all reading different things in our groups, we were doing slightly different activities in each of those groups and students book baskets contained instructional level texts…I thought I was good to go.  But I didn’t feel like I was where I wanted to be with this process. 
I found my next book, my most teacher mom life changing book on a SmartBrief emailing I get as a national board certified teacher. 
whos doing the work
It looked like a nice cover (I might have judged the book by its cover) and was written by some authors,whose blog I follow, Maybe you might have heard of Burkins and Yaris? Smile  I purchased it and then about a month later…Magic.
I am in a couple of Facebook groups for teachers of reading and one of them is The Literacy Teachers Book Club
A book study was beginning for Who’s Doing The Work and what do you know, that just happened to be the title I had purchased a month prior.  So I dove right in, about two week late.  The book study was a 6 week process by which the group administrator posted discussions for participants each week and ideally, you read the chapter and shared your insights into the discussion posts, questions you might have had and in this case, classroom application and implications.  I am not sure if the administrator used the published study guided or not, but in many Facebook book studies they do.  But here is what I LOVE about the process…I came in two weeks late AND was able to catch up at a pace which worked with my teacher mom schedule!  I was also afforded a window into how teachers across the country were using this material and how I can make it work in my classroom, in my district, with my students.  A GIANT plus, there were not just teachers in the group.  There were professors of literacy, published authors and the authors of the book themselves.  Yep!  I was able to study the book with the authors who wrote the book.  AND was able to get feedback on my ideas for application in my classroom from the Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris themselves.  I was able to stay here at my house with my kids, take care of their needs and wants, I didn't have to dress for work and nor did have to get up early on my summer vacation.  Another win win!
The second professional development avenue I was able to explore for the very first time was Twitter.  I have had a Twitter account for a while,(you can follow me here!)  but I never really understood how to use it.  I was turned on to a twitter chat through this same Facebook group.  The name of of the twitter chat is #G2Great and Dr. Mary Howard brought me into it.  You can follow her here and let me tell you…you want to feel good about your teaching practice, tweet with her once and she will build you up!!  She is the author of the book Good to Great Teaching and co moderator of the twitter chat of the same name.  She was even so kind to inform me of how it worked and what I needed to do.  She turned me onto a very important website for participating in twitter chats…
tweet deck
Tweet Deck  Twitter chats are fast paced and allow you to think about the content in smaller chunks which even though its fast, the information  you get is in such small pieces, its pretty easy to digest.  Tweet Deck keeps it all organized and easy to follow.   (At the time of this post, Tweet deck is only available in the app store and google chrome.) 
This platform connected me to so many other literacy professionals who have some new and innovative approaches to how children learn to read and the newest and best classroom tested, evidenced based practices
Whether or not your building administration will grant you professional development credit, this social platform is growing in its ability to deliver evidenced based content to teachers and others in the educational community.  This was the development I needed at this time in my teaching career and I just had to go for it.  Credit or no credit, Its a responsibility to my students and to my profession to keep on learning for the sake of learning itself.  
Ssssssssoooooo,,,Finally social media that is worth my time as a a teacher and a mom. 
Thanks for stopping in and see you soon!!


  1. This just made my day Tobi. The beauty of social media is that there are no rules and we can all fit it into our lives in our own way and in our own time frame. I'm so grateful to you for making such an important commitment for you AND your students and so happy you are in our #G2Great circle of dedicated and enthusiastic professionals! Welcome to this brave new world my friend!

    1. I am honored to have you read my post! I am so grateful to be a part of this brave new world and am going to push this into the PD limelight so we as professionals who are out there busting our tails all summer long to make learning something more for our students, are able to get real PD credit for putting in the "heart" work!


Thanks for your comments as I grow in the blog world!!!