Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sharing Our Literacy Journey: Why & How? Plus an added feature of Blackout Poetry

Over the last two months there have been numerous opportunities to share our literacy journey with other schools, school districts, and organizations. Today I want to explore these and ways that you can personally share your literacy journey or extend your and your students relationships beyond the classroom, school and district.

Sharing Elbow to Elbow:

This has been a traditional method for sharing amongst teachers for many years, but I think what makes it so powerful is that we not only share with each other, but we build relationships and a sense of community. Below is a sample picture of sharing that happened recently between districts. If you have pictures you would like me to add to the blog, please email them and a brief description and let's keep this conversation going.
Tilley Teachers Sharing the LLI Journey in Junior High 
with Wolf Creek Public School Division

Wolf Creek Public Schools also visited Sunrise School
to discuss LLI in Jr High Setting (bottom two pics)


My most recent adventure into sharing our literacy journey has come through the use of Twitter (@hersheycrystal) where for over a year I was a Twitter bystander who couldn't see the purpose of tweeting. After some discussion with Sean Beaton, Grasslands Learning & Innovation Coordinator (@backcountrynut), I was still somewhat unsure of how the Twittersphere could possibly be the best PD for me as an educator, but I forged out into the dark hoping to "fake it until I make it" or stumble across someone who could guide me further. Thankfully I didn't need to stumble for too long as Vince Hill (@vhill01), principal of Bassano School, happened to sit beside me and shine even more light upon my Twitter journey. By now if you're not currently leveraging Twitter for it's wealth of educational benefits, you're probably wondering "Why bother?" Not to mention the fact that you might be pondering, "How can I fit something like this into my already full life?"

Well here's what I've learned about WHY Twitter so far...

  1. Twitter has connected me to educators and other people across Canada & the globe in one week of  beginning to tweet and retweet in those ubiquitous 140 characters. 
  2. None of these educators are constantly tweeting about their breakfast or other mundane, useless pieces of information like I initially feared. 
  3. I've participated in a twitter chat with other educators and been linked up to articles, lesson plans, pictures, quotes, blogs and cool ideas (here's a link to artist Austin Kleon in TEXAS who creates BLACKOUT POETRY which is a way of recycling others printed words and turning them into ART/POETRY- Very awesome!)
  4. I can pose questions on Twitter to help link me to other educators, projects, information, etc. that I couldn't begin to do with Google or Email Contacts.
  5. Twitter has expanded my Personal Learning Network (PLN) to speed up my connection to relevant information as well as allowing me to stay connected with new people I meet at conferences or to stay connected to educators within our district. 


Although new to blogging myself, I'm actively seeking out new blogs to follow and read because I can learn so much from other's journeys. Blogs aren't an overly interactive tool, but as a reflective tool, they can't be beat and now that I've seen them as an effective classroom tool I count them to be an even more glorious tool. What better way to connect to a greater audience and again build relationships than through sharing our writing. If you want to connect to a teacher outside our division who really excels at this check out Terra-Lee Gratton, Gr 4 teacher in St. Paul, AB. She not only connects her classes to many others but she recently presented at the Alberta Rural Education Symposium where she shared her wealth of experiences with Discovery If you would like me to arrange an introduction, please let me know.

There are many other ways to share but these two have recently expanded and opened my world. I hope you'll share with me your journey and consider trying some of these ideas.

I hope you forge ahead with some new connections today.

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