Have you ever hosted or moderated a chat on twitter? I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to host #tlap this past Monday night and it was an awesome experience! In fact, it's Wednesday night and I'm still "flying high" from the thrill of the whole thing!
First of all before I go on and try to convince all of you to host a chat, I would like to give my most heartfelt thank you to Dave Burgess. Dave is the author of "Teach Like a Pirate" and just an all around great guy. He has skyped with my class, signed my book, and even gave me a big pirate hug! So when Dave asked me if I would moderate #tlap of course I said, "Yes!" I remember chuckling to myself after blurting that out, realizing I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I had only been on chats before, not hosted them! They say all of the magic happens outside of your comfort zone, though, so I figured I had nothing to lose. Also, I saw this as a way to "give back" to the twitter community...one that I had gleaned so much from in all of my chats. Dave also mentioned that I would have the help and support from two other amazing educators that I had met at the #ICE14 conference: Julie Nilsson Smith and Mary Kienstra.
I immediately voxed (that's a whole different blog!) my principal, Jay Posick, to tell him the great news. He was just as excited as I was! Then he told me this, which made me feel so good, "I will be sure to be on that chat Monday night." That put me at ease right away knowing that I would have a familiar face on the chat.
After voxing with Julie about the topic of the chat, we finally whittled our thoughts down to one: "The First Day of School." With that, I went to town on questions. I had seen in #complitchat that they posted their questions on visual slides and was inspired to do the same thing. I enlisted my husband's help and soon we were looking for pirate fonts and images!
Next, I "scheduled" my tweets which is an amazing feature on twitter especially when you are the moderator of a chat. It is incredibly easy, and allowed me to respond to other tweets without having to worry about my own.
Then I recalled that the chat needed to be archived and heck if I knew how to do that! Enter Paul Solarz. Another friend I met at #ICE14. I've seen him archive other chats so I asked him if he would do the same for #tlap. He said yes, and I was so thankful.
Next, time to vox with Rik Rowe, another twitter friend who gave me some tips on how to run the chat. I look forward to the day when I can meet Rik face-to-face. In fact, I look forward to the day when I can meet many of my twitter friends face-to-face!
It's now Sunday night and I'm pretty sure I have all of my ducks in a row. The excitement is building and I touch base, via voxer, with Julie and Mary. Monday comes and I'm just giddy with excitement. But first I have to sit through an eight hour training on Reader's Workshop.
Finally, it's time! 8:00 CST comes and I couldn't be more excited! The chat starts, lasts 2 minutes, and it's all over! Well, not literally two minutes, but that's how fast the hour seem to fly by. As I reflected on the event I came up with my "a-ha moments" from the chat.
1. There are brilliant teachers on #tlap who have incredible ideas that they're willing to share with the rest of us. With every tweet I read I just wanted to teleport myself to their classroom! We can rest easy knowing that #tlap teachers are creating experiences for students all across the globe.
2. Educators on twitter are SO kind, generous, and supportive. I was blown away by how helpful and kind everyone was to each other and me. I feel so fortunate to be part of a community that fosters such kindness and generosity among all of its members.
3. Moderating this chat affirmed my passion for being a connected educator.
Thanks for reading. Perhaps one day you will consider hosting a chat and expanding your horizons. Try it! You won't regret it!