Social Media Newbie

In March of this year I joined Twitter.  I had been against all social media up until that point.  At first, I was just behind in getting into it, but later I felt like it was “cool” to not be on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter.  After attending the Michigan Reading Conference in Grand Rapids I attended a session by Troy Hicks where it became apparent that I was missing out, so I joined Twitter and Goodreads.

This decision to get involved with social learning was made a gigantic change in my professional growth.  I have always been a reader, but I have to admit that I did not know enough about what was going on in kid lit.  Very quickly I started to realize how amazing Twitter can be. I started following “The Book Whisperer” Donalyn Miller and any other author of professional books I could find.  From there I just paid attention to who they were following and talking with.  For the first month or so I tweeted zero times.  I just sat back and tried to figure out this Twitter thing.  It was amazing to see all of the learning that was going on in 140 characters.

Being a teacher I know that the best learning doesn’t come from sit and get, so I decided to start trying to tweet. One of my first tweets was to Donalyn Miller: I asked her if she could recommend any great graphic novels to me.  I am new to the medium (learned that it is a medium and not a genre from author Terry Thompson-also on Twitter). She, so very nicely sent me about 4 tweets recommending titles for me to try.  Seriously? Did a hero of mine just send me a message helping me get better as a teacher?  YES!  That would be like 10-year-old Colby trying to get better at lay-ups and Michael Jordan sending him a note.  From that moment on I was hooked.

In the past  few weeks I have really started to get into Twitter even more.  Participating in #titletalk last Sunday night was amazing. I got so many great ideas about books that will help turn my students discover a love for reading.  Through title and other Twitter conversations I have started to build a relationship with John -@mrschureads. That dude knows just about everything there is to know about kid lit.  He introduced me to the series Frankie Pickle which is going to rock the socks of some of my fourth grade readers.  I feel like I am way late on the Frankie Pickle series, but without Twitter I wouldn’t even have a clue.  This summer I have read close to 50 books John recommended for me through direct message or through stalking his tweets.

This week in the mail I received an ARC of the book Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu.  This book has been quite the buzz on Twitter for weeks now, and I was looking forward to reading it when it came out at the end of September.  But because of Twitter I don’t have to wait for the book,  Kellee Moye -@kelleemoye sent me the book by way of Donalyn Miller-@donalynbooks.  Reading a book that has touched the hands of an amazing teacher from Florida and an amazing teacher from Texas blows my mind. Why do no other teachers in my district use twitter?

When I started this post I was writing a  review of the book Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace, but I guess that I just needed to write a post thanking my friends on Twitter for making a better teacher.

P.S. I still don’t have a Facebook account.

P.S.S. But I did hear about this new thing called google+…

16 Comments
  1. Colby – It is great to have you on Twitter. I have learned so much from the others on there and I feel the same way when one of my teacher/librarian rockstars sends me a tweet or information.

  2. Love this post–funny that you just started Twitter in March. I feel like I have been following you forever on Twitter! Glad you joined. I’ve already learned a lot from you (and spent a lot of money on the books you’ve recommended!)

  3. Great post! I feel the same way about social media. I have learned more from interacting with kidlit and tech people on Twitter and Goodreads than I have from attending conferences.

    I’m going to forward your post to some of my teacher friends who haven’t yet found the value of social media. It may help to change their minds.

  4. Colby, I’m so glad you decided to join our twitter circle. I’ve been using it for 2 years (!) now, and I can hardly believe the friendships I’ve formed. Just wait until you get to meet all of us in person. It’s a riot!

  5. I was introduced to the world of blogging less then a year ago. I was blown away by the amazing teachers who share their wealth of knowledge. I couldn’t get enough. Then Franki wrote about twitter and it’s PD….I slowly started to observe, just like you. I sent my first tweet this week. Can’t wait to learn from all the masters….you included. :)

  6. I just tweeted you and then realized I should comment! Twitter is a blast. It still amazes me how we can all be so far away but still be so connected. I can’t understand why more people aren’t on Twitter either. :)

  7. Colby, I’m so impressed that you’ve only been on since March! It is an awesome form of PD as you mentioned. I’ve tried to get teachers in my district on it with only moderate success. Keep up the great work, I’ve enjoyed learning from your tweets.

  8. Colby, I know exactly how you are feeling! I just joined Twitter at the beginning of summer (as I thought I was super cool not joining in the social media blitz . . . oh, I’m also not on facebook) but once I started reading about the power of Twitter and the impact it could make on my teaching and reaching readers, I had to check it out. And I was immediately hooked! I sat back and “listened” and I’m consumed now by all the great links and blog posts. I think I have about ten windows open of tweet-interests that are waiting for me to peruse. It’s amazing the teachers and colleagues out there in the Twittersphere that are willing to help, guide, answer questions, share books . . . and so on! So glad you joined in as well. I’m loving the book suggestions — and I’m also eavesdropping in on your tweets to @mrshuereads. I’ve always got my library search window open and about 75 books requested! Wow! Now, to read before school begins!

    • Great minds think alike:) It is going to be so awesome to know books in a way where we can get that just right book to our readers. I love requesting books from the library. My small town library doesn’t have most of the books, but the borrowing system Michigan libraries have is amazing. Almost everyday I get an email from the library telling me that my books have arrived. I love being able to walk 1/4 of a mile to pick up a book that came from across the state.

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