This blog post has been in my head for a while, but it is one that is worth writing down (finally) because of the impact it can have on student learning. If you are an educator who is hesitant about utilizing social media in the classroom I hope that my recent experience with Holy Angels School (@HAS) will change your mind.
My nephews attend #HAS and I was excited to know that I could follow their learning on Family Literacy Day. I would not be able to attend the literacy activities, but I could still be involved in their learning.
Thanx to the trusting principal, Kim Figliomeni (@kfilane), all educators at HAS have access to the school twitter account and so I was able to learn that Liam really enjoyed Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (@Gary_Paulsen123).
Being an avid reader, I was excited to discuss Liam’s ideas about the book. To start the conversation, I asked Liam what he did for Family Literacy Day and he said “nothing, we played hockey”. I asked his brother what he read for that day, and he replied “nothing, I just drew.” If my nephew’s school and their teachers had not taken the time to share their learning via Twitter, our conversation about reading might have ended there, but the teachers did share and I was able to dig a little deeper. Soon Liam was telling me, in detail, all about the book and why he liked it so much. Not only did Liam provide all the specific details about the book, he also made connections to his family’s time at their camp. Not to be outdone, Blake also described in detail the book he liked and had drawn a picture for.
It was through the power of social media that I was able to have engaging conversations with my nephews who initially had “not done anything” for family literacy day!
As my nephews get older, it seems that unless the conversation is about hockey or video games (not my strongest points!) we have fewer things that we can relate to. As a reader, and as an aunt, I greatly appreciated the ability to have some insight into Liam and Blake’s learning and reading interests.
If you are not using social media to connect your school or classroom community, please reconsider. The connected opportunities between your students and their families empower everyone to take an active, engaged role in the learning, curiosity and wonder that is occurring in your classroom/school. Imagine how the conversations can support the learning if our parents/guardians know what their son/daughter is doing throughout the day. With all the tools available to connect our students and empower our entire school communities can we still keep all the awesome experiences behind our walls?
Below are a few awesome Superior-Greenstone District School Board (@SGDSBoard) educators who model connected learning.