Top 5 Resources for Teachers

Developing my PLN (Personal Learning Network) over the last year has been immensely rewarding. Every day I have instant access to learn new things in education from  the best teachers who are willing to share what they have learned throughout the years. Currently, these five resources constitute the basis of my PLN:

1. Blogs

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I get the best stream of information from other teachers who avidly blog. The nine best blogs I follow post new content several times per week and are rich in new ideas applicable for all teachers.

2. Twitter

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I was reluctant to join Twitter but it is an infinitely evolving database for my PLN. I can connect with educators all across the world while we exchange the resources we find online. It’s also a great platform for me to share my blog posts.

Twitter for Dummies: it’s all in who you follow. If you’re new to Twitter and have no clue how to start, first follow me, kelseyempfield. Then follow everyone I am following which is over 600 people. Each time I click onto Twitter, new people are posting new resources.

3. Pinterest

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I use my Pinterest account to clip interesting articles I find, usually from the blogs I read and the resources I find on Twitter. If I come across a great blog post that I will want to revisit, I pin it on my Pinterest so I can find it later. I have boards including: reading workshop, writing workshop, social media, project-based learning, etc.

I don’t search Pinterest for articles because most of the material categorized in “Education” and “Teaching” is geared toward elementary education. Most of the secondary material I’ve found on Pinterest includes graphic organizers and things I wouldn’t use in my classroom. I only search Pinterest for classroom ideas such as organizing papers, arranging desks, and classroom posters.

Unfortunately, there is one downside to using Pinterest to clip articles. If a website article has no image, you won’t be able to clip it. I previously used bookmarking sites like Diijo but I was unsatisfied with the format. I could never retrieve any of the articles I had clipped because the formatting wasn’t very readable. Because the pins on Pinterest must have an image, it’s easier to navigate and retrieve articles.

4. Organizations and Conferences

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I became a member of NCTE last year in order to attend their annual conference in Boston. At the conference, I learned so much about teaching reading and writing from active teachers. The conference was a chance for me to become exposed to new ideas and ask my questions in person. All of the presenters were willing to share their resources and I came home with a bunch of free books!

I thought after the conference, NCTE wouldn’t be a very good resource but it surprisingly has been a great fountain of knowledge. I get monthly newsletters via email and I can also participate in the online forums where members ask one another for advice and resources.

5. People

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The people I’ve met throughout my four years of college have thus far proven to be excellent resources. When I have a dilemma or question, I rely on the relationships I’ve already developed to give me advice. A few days ago, my co-worker asked me how she could help her son become a better reader. While I gave her my advice, I also tweeted my advisor to see her thoughts about the situation:

Life is about relationships and the best resources I have are the people standing in front of me.

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What is in your PLN that isn’t in mine? Leave a comment and share below.

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