20 Going on 80

Last night I participated in my first ever Twitter Chat.

Yes, I’m twenty-years-old and no I’m not tech-y.

And yes, that combination is possible – I’m living proof and should probably be put in the Smithsonian and preserved.

Sometimes I feel like I’m 20 going on 80. I am a rare commodity.

Let me illustrate my point with two facts:
1. I do not use a smart phone.
2. My parents BOTH have and use smart phones.

Enough said.

Now moving past technology’s defeat over me…

I chose to participate in #engchat – a chat for English teachers. Because in two years I will become a certified English teacher, I figured this chat was a safe option.

The chat topic: helping kids find their unique voices/ways of telling.

The chat host: Jo Knowles author of Living with Jackie Chan (coming fall 2013).

To see professional educators come together in a professional learning community (PLC) was surreal.

Participants interjected with great thoughts, such as “Great writing starts with reading.”

The professional chatter had begun!

Someone else also wrote, “By hearing how others come up w/creative ways of telling, they start to develop their own [voice].”

It was refreshing to read about teachers’ testimonies that reading truly does work to boost writing.

Teachers also swapped activities they used in their classrooms to help students develop their own unique voice. Jo Knowles also provided intriguing concepts, like asking students to dig deeper and contemplate, “What in this made your brain sparkle? Why?”

The Twitter feed exploded with thoughts about the five paragraph essay, voice, and grading, among other topics.

Meanwhile, I sat and observed. Although I tweeted a few times, I felt more comfortable watching the Twitter veterans in their natural habitat.

My favorite part of the chat revolved around the discussion of the five paragraph essay. The majority of participating educators felt as if forcing students to write strictly five paragraphs interferes with developing a unique voice. Ultimately, this piece of logic makes sense, but one participant said it best when he stated, “I think Hell must be five paragraphs long.”

When the hour was up, all participants left the chat with a new sense of professional development.

I walked away with two thoughts:
1. Who knew Twitter could be a place for professional development?
2. Maybe I should get a smart phone.

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