I've been using Twitter for some time now. I don't really remember when I started, but it was around this past spring. For the first few months, I only used it to follow people and randomly update my few followers with useless information.

Really useless information. Like where I was or what I was eating (especially while I was in Hawaii for summer vacation) or how the weather was. Very boring stuff.

Then in the fall, I discovered that I could use Twitter to help my profession. I could use Twitter to connect with other educators and engage in thoughtful and productive discussions on popular topics. I was able to find resources that others have been using successfully for years. In turn, I was able to share what I had found with my colleagues.

Now, I am attempting to show some of those colleagues how to tweet themselves. I've tried to collect some of the best Twitter tips and start up guides here.


Twitter Handbook for Teachers This is a good place to start. It reads like the missing Twitter users guide for beginners. It also have a few FAQs at the end and can also be printed out for quick reference.

Sue Waters' Twitter Wiki A wiki devoted to the importance of PLNs (Professional Learning Networks) and how to get started.

100 Twitter Tools for Teachers Organized nicely into several categories: Managing Twitter, Finding Friends, Sharing, Games, News & Research, Twitterers, Groups, Organization & Productivity, Integration & Classroom Tools.

Twitter Links for Educators Complete with links to PLNs to get you started.

Thoughts on differentiation

This is copied from I don't know where, after a Twitter-hosted #edchat.

Can you meet the needs of every single student you teach? If you are teaching 5 kids, 10 kids even, probably. More than likely if you are a middle school or high school teacher you could be teaching over 100 kids. You have to realize that you can't do something different for everyone, no matter what your administration tells you. (I say that because mine always told me I had to provide different instruction for the over 130 students I taught. Oh and I only saw them for 50 mins a day. Yours may be telling you the same.)

So what do you do? Shake things up. Once you understand your students (by connecting with them) you know one day you might need to do an activity that gets them up and moving around. And the next day an activity where the students have to create. And the next day an activity where the students are reading and discussing with their peers.

You can't walk into the classroom day in and day out teaching exactly the same way. First, that's boring. Second, you are going to reach more students when you vary your instruction. Have fun with it! Dress up, sing, draw, kids love it when they see their teacher as human. (And they might just learn lots!)

Thoughts on grading

These were some strong points made on a Twitter #edchat revolving around grading and the like.

  • Grading should be based only on learning, not ability, not effort. Students should be required to show learning.
  • When we worry about having enough assignments to justify the grade, instead of focusing on proficiency levels we miss the point.
  • Giving and grading assignments so that one has enough to give a grade is not effective in providing valuable data info.
  • A focus on grades instead of a focus on ability/proficiency level with certain skills or standards is not as effective.
  • Today I realized if grading is based on a rubric then final mark should be calculated based on Mode rather than Mean.
  • My students leave with a portfolio and a grade. Portfolio elements and the quality thereof determine the grade.
  • Will somebody please tell me the functional difference between an 80, a 76, AND A 74.