The Life of #TLChat: An Infographic

One of my most important PD tools is Twitter, and the #TLChat hashtag (Teacher-Librarian Chat) helps me stay informed about books & authors, education/library news, great lesson ideas and so much more. I use #TLChat every day I learn something useful from my PLN there. Check out this infographic that I made on Visual.ly to describe the “life” of TLChat! (Sorry–it’s not fitting nicely on my blog template, but at least you don’t lose any of the info)

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Twitter Friends…Or Something Else?

Today, in a twitter conversation with some of my network, I was marveling again at how that group has deepened my thinking and professional practice. Most of this network is comprised of people who live in other places. I don’t have too many local connections in that community, unfortunately, but I touch base daily with teachers and librarians all over the world. I know very few of them in the traditional sense though.

My thinking was stretched this morning by Dr. Scott McLeod’s post, and then the comments, on his Dangerously Irrelevant. Today he posed the question, what do we really know about the edublogger we’re sitting next to at a conference?

My thought was, what does my network really know about me? Do I reach out and share appropriately–even with my own virtual community–a community that I have chosen? Let me say upfront that I obviously don’t “produce” as much as I consume online, and in that respect, am just beginning in my journey. I’m trying to share more with my network, but constantly wonder if what I have to say is that important or interesting!

As I was thinking and reading and connecting in my nerdy middle-of-the-summer way this morning, an odd thought struck me. It has to do with a person that I consider a critical member of my PLN–a blogger, podcaster, twitterer, thinker that I have come to think of as a friend and mentor. I truly feel like I know her. I look forward to reading her thoughts on so many subjects, I love to hear what she has to share when she podcasts with others in my virtual PLN.

Now for the 2.0 part. Today she began following me on Twitter for the first time. I’ve “known” this person for years–had her voice in my head through my earbuds, read her words, cheered for her as she shared her victories with us all…and she doesn’t really know of me at all!

It just struck me how weird it must be for her when she meets someone like me, who really already thinks of her as a friend. I wouldn’t feel like I’d have to go through all the normal getting-to-know-you awkwardness if I met her at a conference. I could just pick up where her last tweet left off. Until today, she would probably be completely unaware of who I am. A very odd, one-sided thing. I guess we’re all trying to feel our way through the relationships we form in virtual communities.

I’m glad she decided to follow me though. Now, if I meet her at a conference, she’ll at least recognize my name, and maybe it won’t be quite so….creepy and stalker-ish for her! 🙂

Photo from Flickr by Always Be Cool.

Students Connect…Thanks to Good Books!

You’ve all been where I was this morning: caught underprepared (read that “woefully unprepared”) for my day’s classes! The days have been filled with TAKS testing, crazy schedules, and meeting upon meeting, library fund raising, blah, blah…and I had simply not prepared sufficiently for my big kids! Twitter network to the rescue! Before school, I saw a tweet about Betsy Bird’s 100 Best Children’s Books, and the Animoto video that Maggi Idzikowski prepared to go along with it. They saved my day!! What a great basis for a sort of wrap up session with our soon-to-graduate 5th graders!

I started off with the video, first relating to them something that a professor and mentor of mine, Dr. Ruth Cox Clark, used to tell us: everyone should read Charlotte’s Web once every ten years. As with most good literature, you will get something entirely new from it each time you read it! As they watched the books of their childhood flash across the screen, they exclaimed over and over again, “Oh! That was a good one!” or “I LOVED that one! Remember when Mrs. S read that to us?” All of the classes–even the ones peopled with some of our harder-to-engage students–had great discussions about the books they remembered and who they read them with! It was a great exemplar of the power of literature!

Since our last checkout is coming up soon, I challenged them all to try a book from the list that they have never read before. The books just about flew off the shelves! Hopefully many of them will be read, too! :/ All the classes certainly spent time reading and talking about their books and memories before they left–and without my directing it! It was a nice thing!

Before they went back to class, students entered the name of a children’s book that they’d enjoyed & that they thought every student should read before leaving our school. Then I used Tagxedo to make this word cloud for our web site!

I’m thankful for my Twitter network! I’m going to stop blogging and tweeting now though, and prepare for my next couple of weeks’ classes! I promise! ….is it summer yet?

Twitter & PLN

Right now, just about any media outlet, product, celebrity or local business seems to have their Twitter name prominently displayed, yet in my everyday life, almost everyone thinks I’m a bit…odd…to even bother with twittering. I think this is so odd, because some of my most valuable professional colleagues are people in my Twitter network! I find useful websites, I get great ideas to try with our students, I discover articles and current research or advocacy tips–all from this valuable network of people that I’ve cobbled together for myself on Twitter. I’d say it’s the most valuable tool I have in my toolbelt! There’s great comfort in finding that I’m not the only one in the world that spends time thinking of things like core common standards vs. AASL standards or “new and emerging tech to promote reading,” which brings me to an important point!

As has been said many times over, the reason that most people who try but end up being puzzled and disdainful of Twitter is that they do not have a relevant group of people to share with & learn from. Hashtags help with this dilemma, and for the teacher librarians out there, Joyce Valenza’s suggestion of using #tlchat could make the difference!


Here’s how to use the hashtag to create our own Teacher-Librarian learning network:
Go to Twitter.com and type #tlchat in the search box. You don’t even need to log in!
Up pops a list of recent tweets by teacher librarians about….library-ish stuff! At right, look at a typical example of tweets–they’re from tonight.

There are so many links to be found that you could easily lose an evening just learning. Then, once you see who is tweeting with the #tlchat hashtag, you will have a number of interesting people to follow!

Once you find a few people to follow, you can see who they follow, and you are on your way to building your own network! Wildly valuable, and quite addictive….

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