Educators. Students. Community members. Much more unites us than divides us, particularly knowing we all wear multiple hats. Building relationships. Thinking BIG.
Challenging and supporting one another. Developing engaged, empathetic citizens. Please join me in pondering how best to nurture these common ground connections.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thanks to the People on Twitter

I have been teaching for nineteen years now, and as one would expect, there have been many experiences responsible for who I am and why I do the things I do in my classroom. Certainly at the top of the list would be the gift of watching my own children grow. Equal in influence would be the constant source of inspiration, knowledge and encouragement I receive from my husband, Spiro Bolos. And I have been incredibly lucky to have collaborated with a gifted educator and scientist, my best friend, Dennis Smithenry, over the past fifteen years.

This morning, inspired by posts from Jen Wagner and Nadine Norris, I began thinking about what other experiences have really transformed my approach to the classroom, particularly within the past two years. My ultimate goals have not changed, but how I reach these goals has certainly been modified thanks to the people I follow on Twitter. (My goals? Simply put, it is to create a self-sufficient scientific community of learners using Whole Class Inquiry so that each person feels valued and is confident he has something worthwhile to contribute to the class. Yes, this is likely the focus of another blog.) It is very difficult to describe what tangible change the people on Twitter have allowed, but there's one thing that's certain. It's not the tool; it's how I use the tool. It's the people I've listened to through the use of the tool. Let me repeat. It's the people.

My parents taught me that in order to grow, and not simply exist, one must never stop questioning. Following certain people on Twitter, and then reading their blogs, has allowed me to continue to generate educationally sound questions. This, in turn, keeps me reflecting on my practice. And if I'm lucky, I get the chance to meet some of these people in person and share thoughts about what is best for students and why and how we do the things we do.

I've only met three of the people in this thank you video, other than my students, of course. But to all of you—including those of you I may have forgotten, forgive me—thanks for keeping me on my toes. I hope I have the chance to talk with you face to face some day. I'm quite certain we'd have much to discuss!

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