Using Social Media for a Book Chat with Staff

Yes, I have been off the grid and this is a blog that should have been written a year ago, but I need to share it since I refer to it in my presentations on using social media as a lead learner. I was fresh off the NAESP conference in Baltimore in 2013 and was a social media ambassador with Joe Mazza and Tony Sinanis.  While there, I was involved in a twitter chat with the ladies of #educoach as they were holding chats on the book Teach Like a PIRATE by Dave  Burgess.  As we were working the social media lounge at NAESP, I mentioned Teach Like a PIRATE (TLAP) during one of the presentations.  Joe Mazza kindly gave me the book and I have used this and highlighted, shared it, and quoted from it. On the drive back, I thought, how can I bring this back to staff in my school, invigorate the passion of teaching, as well as show them how social media. So, I asked permission from both my superintendent and assistant superintendent to lead a book study not only with the East Side staff, but with the entire district.  here are the steps I did and the planning I followed using Evernote to plan.  Here are the notes I jotted during the planning of these sessions for reference.

  • First check out what to use, whether Schoology, Edmodo, Twitter or Link
  • Advertise via email All User and get commitments.
  • Put onto MLP to get credit
  • Settle on weekly pages.
  • Format Questions
  • Set time for chats so they are live
  • Set up a live chat with Dave Burgess over Skype
  • Maybe do a twitter chat so others can tweet in.  Provide an overview of how to tweet and use hashtag

I crafted an email to all staff and did an email blast for the district:

Hi All:
Want to increase your student engagement, boost your creativity and transform your life as an educator?  Need a boost for an exciting year?  Then join me as we venture into a book study on Teach Like A Pirate, by Dave Burgess.  What do you need?  A commitment that you will be willing to join in chat discussions using social media and other web 2.0 tools., a copy of the book, Teach Like a Pirate and a willingness to share your thoughts and ideas. We will be using two platforms, twitter which will give us live chats so we can connect to other educators throughout the world and with the author, and Edmodo, so we can dialogue amongst ourselves. This will be great PD for all of you and can be tracked on My Learning Plan.  I can set this up so that you can sign-up.  If you are interested, please respond to this email asap.  I would like to get this group up and started.  Just so you know, the book is practical, easy, and not long at all.   We will do about 5 twitter chats for an hour on Tuesday nights @ 8:00p.m.  These will be live chats with me moderating the questions and with other guest moderators.
First:  Complete this form (Click on the word)  Deadline is September 1st

Second:  Open a twitter account and Edmodo account.  They are free!!

Third:  Bring your insights and passion.
We will meet on Tuesday, September 24 @ 3:00p.m. in the ES computer lab, room 47 to do a quick overview of how to tweet, use the hashtag, and use Edmodo.  (You will need an account prior to this meeting.)
The first chat will be held on October 1st
This will be a real treat for everyone.  Sign up soon.  ARRRG……..
I extended the timeline to sign-up and continue to email blast the district to get staff to sign-up  In the end, the majority of participants were from the elementary school and as well, from our East Side community, so we moved forward.
Our assistant superintendent was gracious to provide our staff with books.  I held a Twitter 101 course for participants.  Some folks were hesitant  to join the book chat because I was using social media and technology.  Before the book chat, I tweeted out to my PLN and asked, “Why Twitter? Use #gouv13”  I had this in the background and all of the sudden, my PLN tweeted in and the staff could not believe it.  They saw the power of the PLN come in, the relationships that I had formed, and how folks around the world just helped other educators be successful.
Once Twitter 101 and Edmodo training was completed, the schedule was shared and we were on the road to using social media as a professional development tool.  Here was the calendar:
Oct1: pages 1-32 (Passion, Pages 3-12; Immersion, Pages 13-18; Rapport, Pages 19-32)
Oct 8 pages 33-64 (Ask and Analyze, Pages 33-53; Transformation, Pages 55-64)
Oct 15: pages 65-94 (Enthusiasm, Pages 65-71; The Third Circle, Pages 75-82; A Crash Course in Presentational Hooks, Pages 83-85; I Like To Move It, Move It, Pages 87-93)
Oct 22: pages 95-132 (Long Live The Arts, Pages 95-101; What’s In It For Me?, Pages 103-115; Stand And Deliver, Pages 117-123; Advanced Tactics, Pages 125-132)
Oct 29 pages 133-176 (Around The Edges, Pages 133-141; The Awkward Question, Pages 145-152: Where Do I Start, Pages 153-168; Finding A Crew, Pages 169-174; Finding Treasures, Pages 175-176)
To help with the chats for the staff, I posted them on Edmodo to have the staff experience the power of a SMS.  My goal was to have them try it out and how they could use it with their kiddos to engage learning.  Schoology is the platform that we use now for students and staff for teaching as well as for professional development for staff.
Along came the first chat.  We had it on Tuesday, October 1st.  I advertised to have my PLN come in and chime in on the Q and A.  Basically, I would pose the question, and the participants in the chat would answer using A1, A2, A3, etc.  So here came the first questions:
Q1 Within your subject matter what are you passionate about teaching?
Click here for the Storify of the first chat.
The next morning, although we were using the social media platform of Twitter, what was powerful for the staff to see was some of my PLN coming in and helping as well as the author of the book, Dave Burgess, commenting on the questions.  That was the big talk back in the building, “Hey Vic, that was pretty cool that the author was involved in the chat.”
You know, yes it was powerful that Dave Burgess was available for most of the five chats.  He made it a point to be there, to help our teacher become better in their craft and to show that we are in this together and it is about the relationships that we form.
Although I didn’t have everyone in the chat, I did have those folks that wanted to improve and push themselves to be just a little bit better for their kids.  I cannot thank Dave Burgess enough for being there.  Sometime, someday, I will meet him and it will be like I have known him forever.  My point is this – anyone can do this for their staff.  Hold their hands, be the lead learner, and take them on a journey.  People are out there to help.  It’s not about “making a buck” – it’s about improving our craft and being better educators for our kids.  What do you think?  Are you up to take it further with your staff?  Let me know how I can help.  Enjoy!
  1. #1 by Mary Ann Stewart on August 9, 2014 - 3:04 pm

    Great info, Vicki – thank you for sharing! I haven’t read TLAP, but saw it referenced a lot and wondered what it meant – now I know!

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