Months ago, some friends in my virtual professional learning network (PLN) decided to read Katherine Bomer’s new book from Heinemann, The Journey is Everything: Teaching Essays that Students Want to Write for People Who Want to Read Them. We read and wrote responses to our reading in Google Docs to share our ideas, a virtual book club.
I decided to contact Katherine Bomer about doing a Twitter chat later in the summer. She agreed with the disclaimer that she had never done a Twitter chat. I explained that I had never curated one.
So the journey of discovery began. Reading the book was the easy part. Katherine’s voice in her writing is like she is sitting next to you having a conversation. Yet at the same time, she is full of wisdom about essays, about writing, and about teaching. There is so much goodness in this book, it was difficult to choose quotes to use in the Twitter chat.
I’m getting ahead of myself. The first thing I did was to create an ad for the chat. I wanted something eye-catching that others could tweet and retweet. I used Canva. Canva was recommended by Dr. Mary Howard, another wise voice in education today. She leads a weekly Twitter chat for Good to Great (#G2Great on Thursdays at 7:30 PM Central). You should follow her. @DrMaryHoward
A few weeks ago I invited some friends to participate in brainstorming questions. A Twitter chat is usually an hour and includes 7 questions evenly spaced out by about 8 minutes. (Mary Howard sent me a schedule she uses for G2Great.) Tara Smith, Fran McVeigh, and Julieanne Harmatz contributed ideas and questions to the Google Doc. It got rather messy which is the way this kind of work is: messy, thoughtful, and inspiring.
Then I listened to this podcast from Heinemann. I took notes and thought of more questions. Jan Burkins offered me the advice to try out the questions to see if I could answer them in 140 characters. That’s today’s task. I am also going to test out pre-tweeting using Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck is necessary for following a chat. (For tonight, enter #DigiLitSunday.)
I spent a few hours putting the questions into a Canva Twitter background. This way your questions can be longer than a tweet, but it also makes them attractive so they stand out from other tweets. Here’s a sample question.
What is left to do is to make an image with all the questions to tweet out today before the chat. This gives participants a heads up, time to think about their responses, and a way to participate more fully in the conversation.
Wish me luck. I’m excited and nervous. I have some great people backing me up. I’m glad I’m doing this, but I don’t think we’ll chat every week. Maybe once a month?
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