As we start another school year together, my teaching partner, Paula, and I continue to look at our workflow. While we blogged over the summer about some changes that we were considering, a comment from Doug Peterson had us rethinking our approach.
We decided to create a Documentation Blog to share on our Class Team (in MS Teams), but that would also allow for some sharing through Instagram and Twitter. This week, we realized that the Media Consent Forms were not available yet for parents, so we had to modify our workflow. We decided to write a story of each day without photographs and videos, and then share all photographs and videos separately with parents through individual OneDrive folders.
Now that the Media Consent Forms are available for parents to sign, Paula and I have made a choice to go back to our Documentation Blog workflow, which also includes tweets and Instagram posts. This decision had us reflecting on why do we choose to share as we do?
We share this way because it causes us to observe and listen more closely. When we were uploading the photographs and videos to the OneDrive folders, we weren’t looking and listening back to all of them. We remembered the key points of what was shared/discussed, as we were part of the process. We got involved in the conversations. But often, as we watch the discussion in action again, and listen to what we said and what kids said, we see the learning differently. Maybe more interests are highlighted. Maybe we become more aware of where to go next. Maybe we also think more deeply about our role in the conversation, and possible changes to our own practices. As parents started to sign the Media Consent Forms at the end of the week, we added a few posts to Instagram. Paula and I then went back to watching and listening to videos together. Our reflections in these posts, I think speak to what’s gained by re-looking at lived experiences.
We share this way because it allows us to practice what we preach. Lisa Noble, a fellow educator, has spoken in the past about the value in visible thinking and learning. Right now, as we’re all trying to navigate new protocols and new realities in schools, I think that this visibility is even more important. It means being visible with what we do right and what we do wrong. It means being vulnerable. But hopefully as we share our thinking and others share theirs, we can support each other: benefitting kids, families, and us. Just look to our set-up posts to realize that our plans didn’t always go as anticipated, but as others shared, we were also able to figure out what we might do instead.
We share this way because it allows kids and families to benefit from each other’s thinking and learning. Paula and I never force kids do the same thing at the same time, or even the same thing ever. Our approach to learning is personalized, and with everybody in his/her own space now, it seems even more so. When kids and families can see each other’s work though, hear thinking, listen to our questioning, and observe extensions of learning, maybe something that did not interest a child before will inspire him/her later on. I think of this classroom experience from the other day.
Just as learning is social in the classroom, might it also be social outside of it? Does social media help support that?
We share this way because it encourages the social. We love getting feedback from parents, educators, and administrators. Questions and contrary opinions have us reflecting more, and new ideas often inspire change. I think about what Aaron Puley has shared before around parent engagement versus involvement.
When we share using platforms that allow for dialogue, there is so much more engagement. Many parents are also using social media already, especially Instagram, so meeting them where they’re at can help with increasing two-way communication.
We share in this way because it helps us remember and celebrate the positives! Especially at the beginning of the year, teaching feels like you’re running a marathon. With the mask and shield, you often end the day with that sweaty feeling a marathon might bring. 🙂 When I look back though on the learning and experiences that happened throughout the day, I can’t help but smile. Whether it’s a comical memory …
or the feeling of success …
it’s nice to be able to recall the moments of joy! These moments often inspire us to keep moving forward.
We share in this way because of the implied message that it also sends. When mistakes, struggles, successes, growth, and next steps are all put out there — whether ours or those of our kids — it also speaks to the value that we see in the process of learning. It says that learning is to be celebrated, and not just perfection, but the steps that propel us forward.
If all thinking and learning is just kept private, what do our actions say about our beliefs?
Not all parents will sign the Media Consent Forms, and we understand. There’s a reason that this sharing is offered as a choice. We can share with these families in other ways. There is value in making an informed decision. Hopefully these reasons why we share socially will play a role in that decision. Why do you share as you do? As some of us have done this for a long time, it’s easy to forget to reflect on the why. This post had me going back to do so. What about you?