Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Power of Social Media for Educators: Got #Geniushour?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Happy Edu-Social Networking! 
Case Study: The Power of Social Media for Educational Professional Development

A whole new slate. An entire recently-reconsidered and reflected upon, fully resolved year stands at the ready. What excites you about the opportunity about to unfold? Do you have any one area of focus at the tip-top of your list? Do you have a 'word' for the year? Personally? Professionally? Personafessionally? Yes, I just put a trademark registration in for that particular new word. 

Today let's talk about using social networking as an educator, as a professional. How many of the numerous social platforms do you avail yourself for professional development? Where do you spend your time? Yes. There are indeed professional support groups on FB. Here's one for K and another more specific to PreK. Do you prefer LinkedIN for your group interactions? Here's an Early Childhood Group another for Head Start or one specific to K. Or how about Google+? Is that your milieu? Here's Kinderland

For me, personafessionally, 2013 was the year to wade deeper into social media with intent. It was the year I joined Instagram, which also has a place in the educator's social network support toolbox. More importantly, drumroll........ 2013 was the year that I FINALLY grasped the power of TWITTER! 

Might I be brave enough here to suggest that one of your professional goals for this newest year at hand include your exploration of Twitter? Twitter for teachers. Yes. I know. Pinterest is so much more fun! You get Pinterest. I get Pinterest. It's visual. There's a constant stream for your immediate grasp of available new resources. I adore Pinterest for the immediacy. If somehow you've missed that particular train up until now, by all means jump aboard. But............ 

Honestly. Twitter has a power for professional educational efficacy I have not witnessed in the other social networking realms. I know. You don't get Twitter. I hear ya. I feel ya. I'm sure I'm just scratching the T-surface. Will you just trust me on this? Twitter. It's an acquired taste. Like broccoli and exercise and asparagus and flossing -- all good for you. All good for a new year. Twitter. It's good for you. Do it. Learn it. Grasp it. Grow it. You'll be better as a result. Promise. Pinkie-promise. 

Twitter Directory and LinkUP for Kindergarten Tweeps via RainbowsWithinReach

{Last fall I had an article on my own blog that can serve as a starting point for the Twitter virgins in our readership. I rounded up a dozen teacher Twitter user tutorials, there is also a directory that now lists 99 Kinder-twitter users. That's the place to begin. Get yourself added. Follow others of your ilk. Here's the parallel directory that currently has a list of 32 PreK Tweeps... that's T-users. Your network is as strong as the individuals that you follow. There is strength in numbers.} 

Preamble over. Case in point. Here's what I learned BECAUSE OF TWITTER in just the last couple of days. A whole new approach to education -- unheard of by my ears until this Twitter interaction. Yet perhaps the answer to THE rankling questions/issues in {early childhood} education of our time. Here's how I first found out about #GeniusHour

Twitter Interaction Leading to Awareness of GeniusHour!
Twitter Stream Interaction. Does it look like a foreign language? See the breakdown below. 

1. My T-friend wrote a blog article about keeping dreams alive in her newest kindergarten setting. Urban. Gritty. Stringent district expectations about the day's allocation of minutes, which seemingly leaves NO time for child-directed developmentally appropriate 'play' activity. After writing her reflective article, she then asked her PLN (Professional Learning Network/Twitter friends) for ideas/insight and directed them to her blog article via a shortened URL
2. She 'tagged' me into the original tweet asking for ideas. [That's the part that says: @Kweezlequeen by inserting my name, she has summoned my attention to her concern.] 
3. She also used the hashtag: #Kinderchat which throws her query out to the broadest readership for insight-at-large and additional support.
4. Immediately, very much in real time, she started receiving responsive support and insight via tweet.  
5. As a result of a cyber friend's frustration and inquiry, because I was looped into the initial query/tweet I can now easily read the responses, offer encouragement and learn in the process as a result of other suggestions being offered. I could have also 'surfed' into this conversation by following the broader hashtag as did our brilliant wonder @dubioseducator. In this case? I learn of the new grassroots, well spring of hope, movement known as #GeniusHour. This series of tweets above is the first time this particular concept has been brought to my attention. TA DAH. Worth it to get involved on Twitter.

As an additional aside. I just today opened my newsletter from Laura Candler and she gives a shout out to a guest article on her blog, on the use of, wait-for-it, #GeniusHour! Yes. Many of these initial articles are from MUCH more mature students than ours here at PreK+K Sharing. ***Sometimes it helps me to reverse engineer my early childhood aspirations by considering educational experiences for older students and then attempt to figure out the foundation experiences we need to be providing. 

So how does #GeniusHour fit into the whole early education equation? What makes this approach so exciting? How can this concept enrich your classroom? One more tool in the toolbox, for sure! Nothing would make me happier than for this article to host YOUR experiences with #GeniusHour in Early Childhood via the comment section below. Please leave us your insight and share your experience. 

We are just winding up an intense  delightful couple of weeks with our WonderPeeps (grandchildren) visiting us in our new, teeny Floridian digs. The WonderTwins are our KinderPeeps and so I've had some quantity of time to reflect again on what five year olds like to do. 

Here are some 'winter' resources from my blog.... to support your January genius. Each of these images below is from a different article. Just click the picture to be transported over to 'Rainbows Within Reach.' By all means, pin liberally, so we can have some readership for the #GeniusHour conversation. 

Winter Poem Rhyme Anchor Charts via RainbowsWithinReach

Painted Foot-print Snowman via RainbowsWithinReach

Mittens RoundUP of Ideas at RainbowsWithinReach

A Rainbow Blizzard: Process Art + Poem via RainbowsWithinReach

Snow People in OODLES of variations at RainbowsWithinReach

Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts: Penguin RoundUP RainbowsWithinReach

Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts, Part 42: The Snowflake Edition at RainbowsWithinReach

Winter Art Project: Snowman in a Snow Globe via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Preschool Winter Project: Igloo with Marshmallows via RainbowsWithinReach (Fine Motor Friday #46)

Debbie Clement is a music-lady, author-illustrator of traditional picture books. 
You can follow her travels as consultant, speaker and polka-dot whirlwind at Rainbows Within Reach. 
She is the King of the Collaboration here and writes monthly on the first. 

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