Could Twitter Be Your Next PLN?

Ryan Hanna is an initiate of Zeta Chapter at the University of Cincinnati and a current fifth-grade teacher in Cincinnati. He has been teaching for ten years. He served as a Scholastic Book Clubs Teacher Advisor for two years and was named his school’s Teacher of the Year in 2012. Ryan is a fortunate member of the Nerdy Book Club and is a fanatic about reading (and recycling). You can find him on Twitter @rantryan and on his blog. Check out the Nerdy Book Club blog!

Happy Teen Read Week 2014! I come to you to share a piece of advice – if you are a pre-service or professional classroom teacher WITHOUT a Twitter account, pick a creative handle and sign up as soon as you can! What are you waiting for?

The professional development provided by our school districts can sometimes be lacking. While these trainings may be planned with good intentions, teacher professional development is often “one-size fits all” and instructs us in a way that we would never instruct our own students. One of the most prevalent “buzz” words in education today is differentiation, but I often wonder why teacher professional development isn’t also differentiated.

Twitter Chats for Teachers

So, as teachers, we must seek out our own opportunities to learn from others and gather knowledge about our craft. This is where Twitter, the best professional learning network I have ever been a part of, comes in. Connecting with educators across the country is a benefit of the online Twitter community. Professional development through the use of Twitter is real-time – resources and great ideas are simply a click away, day or night. Not only are there individuals to connect with and learn from, Twitter chats occur weekly that cover different grade levels, subject areas, different regions of the country, and educational topics (such as diversity or technology use). These chats are organized and held frequently, and you can either contribute to the conversation or just observe and take notes as wonderful ideas fly across your screen. Check out this map of all of the education-related chats that occur (generously developed by Sean Junkins). You can also check out this even larger list of Twitter chats, created by Jerry Blumengarten.

The professional learning network, or PLN, on Twitter has changed my teaching for the better, and I wholeheartedly believe it can change yours, too! Not only have I been able to improve my classroom instruction, I have found an online world where authors, books, and readers are celebrated – through the Nerdy Book Club blog and its members. Anyone can join this amazing club! I feel that I am more successful at encouraging and teaching reading because of my connection to this wonderful group. Every day, an inspiring post is shared on the Nerdy Book Club blog. Nerdy Book Club Chats are held frequently – my favorite being “Title Talk,” hosted by teacher and writer Donalyn Miller and teacher Colby Sharp.

If it weren’t for the Nerdy Book Club and my Twitter PLN, I would never have discovered the book The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, which profoundly changed how I taught reading in the classroom. I also would never have been able to connect with authors such as R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder, and directly share with her my students’ feelings about her book. There’s no other place where students and teachers can connect so easily with their author heroes! Without Twitter, I would never have read The Only and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, heard about The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, experienced the beauty of Rainbow Rowell’s writing, or discovered my new favorite writer Andrew Smith (author of Winger, Grasshopper Jungle, and 100 Sideways Miles).

Please don’t wait any longer – get on Twitter and join in on the learning fun!

It’s the first day of summer!

Sally Rushmore edits the New Teacher Advocate. She formerly taught secondary science and computer applications at a community college.

Summer cupcakesIt’s the first day of summer and what do you do?
Ride your bike to the farmer’s market,  
Fresh vegetables and fruit to get.
Then put on your suit and jump in the pool – yahoo!

It’s the first day of summer and what do you do?
Plant a fruit tree and water a flower,
Take a hike or use the lawn mower.
Don’t forget the sunscreen and a fun hat – whoo-hoo!

 It’s the first day of summer, so a party you’ll throw.
Check Pinterest for ideas you’ll love.
Have celebrations a cut above –  
The most fun food and games you’ll always know! You go!

 It’s the first day of summer, but the summer goes fast,
So create a plan to implement
Some professional development
Or at the end of summer you’ll be saying, “Alas!”

 It’s summer and you don’t want to spend all your day
Slaving at lesson plans, common core,
Or backwards design ʼtil your brain is sore.
Use your KDP membership so you don’t pay. 

It’s summer and everyone’s on the go –
Now you can get PD on an app
Listen to a webcast and you’ll clap
Because KDP has what you need to know. Whoa!

Since it’s summer and the days are so nice, you can
Download articles and webcasts,
Learn new strategies, get tips or facts.
The Resources Catalog will gain you as a fan! 

Yes, as my silly poem tells you, the summer goes fast and then you’ll be moaning, “But I was going to work on flipping my class for one unit this fall and I never even learned what it is, let alone how to do it!” If flipped learning is on your list, you can view the first webinar in the Resources Catalog under the Curriculum Ideas category. The second one (Flipping the ELA classroom) will be June 24 and the third on (Flipping the Elementary Classroom) will be July 8. Sign up for one of these or view them later in the Resources Catalog. (Allow 75 minutes to watch a webinar or webcast all the way through.)

Do all the crises in schools—tornadoes, shootings, students dying accidents—make you wonder what you can do? Go to the Students in Crisis category in the Resources Catalog and view the webcast “Disaster Primer for Educators” to see what you can do to be better prepared and “Supporting the Grieving Student” to help students cope with grief afterwards. These are also great to use with your Professional Learning Community or grade level teachers this fall. Follow up by reading “Responding to Grief in Students” and “Bibliotherapy: Helping Children Cope with Life’s Challenges.” Anti-bullying resources can be found in this same category—and watch for our new webinar on bullying in October.

Learn new ways to do Differentiated Instruction or get up to speed on Common Core. There are some terrific webcasts in the Common Core category, including “Using Data to Inform Instruction.” Articles vary in length and you can print them to take with you while sunbathing or waiting on children.

Are you a newer teacher seeking to add to your repertoire of strategies? Bravo! And you’re in luck. Check out the categories of Curriculum Ideas or New Teachers or Classroom Management.

And one more thing!

It’s the first day of summer and what do you know?
You feel rested and ready to go
But come school time your energy flow
Will feel like a balloon losing its air. Oh, no!

So this summer, while you have the time to do it
Learn about stress and health and pacing
In Wellness, so then you’ll be facing
A year of health and energy—you can do it!

Check Out Our Graduation Photo Contest Winners!

Rachel Gurley is chapter operations coordinator at Kappa Delta Pi.

Winner Cover PhotoIt’s post-graduation season and that means the time has come to show off our winners of the #KDPGrad Photo Contest.  We had a fantastic response this year with nearly 100 graduates sharing photos wearing their KDP regalia with pride. You can check out all of the photos on the KDP Facebook page.

This year our winners are Rosemary Anthony and Maria Kroeker. Rosemary is our first-place winner receiving a $50 KDP store gift card. Maria received a $25 KDP store gift card as our second-place winner. Both winners not only shared beautiful pictures, but each member shared the stories behind their photos.

Rosemary submitted a photo that included her father. The photo in fact was a very candid shot of Rosemary laughing as she admired her dad. Rosemary said, “The look our faces totally sums up our relationship! His support and love are amazing.” Their relationship is very special and dear following the tragic loss of Rosemary’s mother and brother in 1998. The loss of family has drove Rosemary to excel in her accomplishments. As Rosemary graduated from Houston Baptist University with a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction she wore her KDP regalia with pride and captured a precious moment with her father.

Our second-place winner, Maria, submitted a very classic photo displaying her graduation cap. With a wide smile on her face and KDP regalia around her neck Maria proudly displayed her inspiration for becoming a teacher, her mother. Losing her mother at a young age, Maria’s mother was absent during her college career. Maria told us “She is my inspiration, and that’s what I want to be for my students.”

No matter what your inspiration or who supported you, we are proud of all our #KDPGrads this year! KDP is thrilled to have a new class of educators and we are eager to support you as you continue your professional endeavors. Congratulations to the Class of 2014, and congratulations Rosemary and Maria!

Digital Survival: Spare Yourself Social Media Drama

Eric Combs is an author and the program director for the Center for Teacher Effectiveness. He speaks throughout the U.S. and Canada on education reform and better classroom practices and is a regular contributor to the KDP webinar series. His webinar on social media use was one of KDP’s most popular to date. You can access the recorded webinar in the Job Search Academy in KDP Global (login required).   

combsAre you in your first few years in the classroom? Are you looking for a job this summer? If so, I hope you’ll join me for a Twitter chat June 24 from 1-1:30 p.m. (EDT) or June 25 from 8-8:30p.m. (EDT) to talk about how social media can help or hinder your professional career and job search.

Our focus will be useful ways to use social media to search for a job or bolster your professional profile. We might even have some tips to avoid to ensure your digital presence stays professional and appealing to your current and future employers.

My Twitter name is @madhobbit2, and during the chats, we’ll use the hashtag #KDPjobsearch. Make sure you start following my account and that hashtag for more details leading up to the event.

If you’ve never participated in a Twitter chat, here are some useful tools:

  • TweetChat and Nurph: Allows you to easily follow one Twitter conversation at a time,
  • Automatically adds your hashtag to all of your tweets, and
  • Bitly: Shortens long links to make the most out of your 140 characters.

You can read more about other Twitter chat tools in Social Media Today or Razor Social.

If you have any questions leading up to the chats, be sure to leave them in the comments here or by tweeting me using the hashtag.

I look forward to chatting with you soon!

We’re pinning!

Rachel Gurley is chapter operations coordinator at Kappa Delta Pi.

PrintYou may use Pinterest to plan your marriage to a spouse that has yet to be determined or your imaginary dream closet, but are you using Pinterest to further your career?

Educators should be!

Kappa Delta Pi has only recently joined the Pinterest community. It wasn’t very hard to find topics relatable to educators; it’s clear there’s a whole online world to explore. Boards by KDP headquarters feature KDP gear, technology trends, lesson plans for Common Core, and much more. Our boards offer a broad range of topics, however there are resources out there for specific subjects. Educators can build a board around their specialization. Pinterest features content for special education, early education and high school. You name it, it’s probably there.

What boards would you like to see from KDP Headquarters? Obviously there’s a lot of content out there, and we don’t promise to pin it ALL (although I’d love to pin all day).

This month KDP member and volunteer, Mindy Keller-Kyriakides, is our featured guest Pinner. Mindy is a secondary education teacher with a passion for creating a positive environment of learning. She currently serves on the Kappa Delta Pi Web Committee

Already we are seeing great things from Mindy. My personal favorite being the PINspiration from Kid President (this week’s just for fun video on KDPGlobal).

Who or what are your favorite accounts to follow? What resources could you share? Want to be a guest pinner for KDP? Contact me at