Here I am, connecting with Big Time Literacy for Michelle's blogging challenge.
Today the question is.... how do I use social media to support my teaching? Hmmmm.... thought provoking. Btw.... I have only just begun the reading the book that is studied on Thursdays, and I'll probably blog about it late, but then, that is not really a surprise!
Media I engage in.... facebook (personal), blog (teaching), Pinterest (personal), and.... well, that is about it. I have been saying for a couple years that I need to get involved with twitter. But so far, I haven't. Maybe this will be the year. Facebook has always been largely a place to connect personally. But that is changing for me. This past year I joined a First Grade Gab Group. It is a closed group. Others can see that I am a member, but are not supposed to be able to see my posts. This group was a life saver this past year when I was struggling. Since then, I have discovered Kindergarten Teachers Unite, also a closed group, and 2nd Grade Chat. Now that I am back in Kinder, I don't need all the other grade levels, but I am hesitant to leave because of what a great connection they have been for me. This year, we are considering a facebook page for Kindergarten. I have been weighing in on pros and cons on the Kindergarten Teachers Unite page and there are a lot of varied opinions. I am leaning toward a "secret group" with a no-tagging guideline for photos. My partner and I think this would be a quick way to connect and keep families informed and up to date! And let's face it.... I already know most of the ins and outs of facebook. I still "share to save" and I still comment to follow posts. Sometimes others put me down for this. But yesterday I wanted to follow a post and went to "turn on notifications" and I haven't gotten one notification. It was a hot topic too, so I don't really believe the discussion has ended. Facebook is also connecting me through book studies this year. In the past when I have participated in a book study I have always joined through blogging. This year, I have joined the Guided Reading study on facebook and my facebook friend Meenal (not a central Kansas name, huh?!) and I started a facebook group for Guided Math! Facebook has become more of a teaching connection than it ever was in the past. I've also gotten connected to other teachers in my district, which is outside of my town and a little larger than I've been a part of in the last couple years.
I am curious to know.... who uses Remind? It used to be Remind 101 and now it is just called Remind. It allows you to text parents without giving out your cell number. Last year I just gave out my number. But I'm in a bigger district this year. If you have used it, do you like it? What do you think?
My blog, Education in Ms. Horn's World, which once was Kindergarten in Ms. Horn's World, and my url still reflects this, connects me to a world of educators who inspire me, connect me, and give me pause to be grateful for the things that I have, and drive me to use my talents wisely. I have connected with other teachers, like my fabulous friend Mrs. Bartel, and met new friends, like Michelle at BTL.I thought blogging was going to be a connection to parents and kids, but it really hasn't been. What it has done is this: led to job interviews, given me a world of networking, inspires me through my own writing and through reading about teachers going through the very same things that I am.
Where do I want to go? I want to stay open and be willing to explore things that are new to me. What I see on the horizon is Twitter. I am still not sure about instagram. But I feel the pull of Twitter drawing me in and I see this stretching my horizons in ways that they haven't been stretched yet.
I am grateful for the way that social media shrinks the world around me and that I can connect with any educator, in any location. Most of my connections are in the USA but some connections are in Australia. Who knew?
Pinterest. I just want to say.... how did people teach before Pinterest. Pinterest connects me to ideas, resources, blogs, and people. Most often it connects to a project/activity through a blog post and then I am connected anew to a blog that inspires. When I don't know what to do for a craft, connection, project, I search Pinterest. It shows me ideas, connects me with standards, gives me freebies, and so much more. I can almost always find what I need on Pinterest.
Teachers Pay Teachers. That is another resource that I don't know how we used to teach without. I purchase materials, I am not JUST a freebie hunter. But I am also fairly cautious. I recently made my biggest purchase, along with my teaching partner. We bought a growing bundle when it was $45 and a second license for an additional $22.50. So we each paid $33-34. That bundle is now up to $100 and the size is still growing. It now encompasses over 1200 pages. I am careful/frugal/tight. Hey, I AM a teacher now, but I still live below the poverty line, so I have to really watch it. I usually buy $2-5 units. Teachers pay Teachers saves my life in the departments of: sight word games and practice, learning games, centers and reinforcement of skills. I am a consumer, not a creator. I just don't have the time or the inclination.
What does social media do for you? How are you connected?