Today's guest post comes from Erin Gerdes, 1st grade teacher at Silver Lake Elementary. Follow her on Twitter @ErinGerdes.
A year ago I began my digital classroom journey. It has opened my eyes to endless possibilities for myself as an educator, for my students and for opportunities to collaborate with others. One new option for me was doing a Twitter Chat. I tend to be the quiet person who listens and takes what everyone says in, then I try it on my own and reflect. I'm a bit shy, especially when surrounded by other professionals. Turns out, Twitter Chats are PERFECT for me! At first, I was a 'lurker'. I would watch the chats but not get involved, other than retweeting something so I would have record of it later. I slowly grew my PLN this way, following a number of people.
After a while, I began to participate. Now I really enjoy getting involved and look forward to meeting some of these people in my PLN at conferences. One of my favorite Twitter Chats is #1stchat. It is every Sunday night, which is nice timing in my home. We are winding down, preparing for the week ahead. I can ride my stationary bike or get comfy in my sweats while on my couch and follow along. If I have to take care of my family, I can go back and read what was stated during the hour later on.
This chat has led to TONS of ideas that I can go back and apply on my own time, and share with others. It has led to me branching out with a Twitter account in my classroom, matching up with other 1st grade teachers from around the country and in Canada. They have sent activities to me, as well as share fun ideas (#2d3dshapes while we were all studying geometry; number riddles, poetry, etc). There is a lot of participating and active sharing. I've started lurking in #2ndchat as well recently. I also enjoy #txeduchat on Sunday nights. I can finish one chat and go right into another. I know there are several others - I have checked out #geniushour, too.
My first favorite of course is the #gcisdchat! It was fun chatting with other educators that I have met at meetings but never get to just talk to about what works and what doesn't. I enjoy when coaches and administrators get involved and offer ideas, as well. One of my favorite things was visiting another school in our district. A teacher and I recognized each other but we had never met. Turns out we participate in the same Twitter Chat! It is fun to get to know all these amazing educators that are right here in my own district, as well as others from around the world.
Twitter Chats are perfect for a person like me. I can sit back and observe, or I can take a risk and offer what I have experienced or what I am wondering about. I have gained confidence in what I do and really enjoy broadening my PLN. I highly recommend Twitter Chats!
Erin's post is part of her GCISD Virtual Voyage blog. Join us on your own Virtual Voyage... https://sites.google.com/a/gcisd.net/gcisd-virtual-voyage/