Why Do We Share As We Do?

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. πŸ™‚ 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?


4 thoughts on “Why Do We Share As We Do?

  1. Nice collection of thoughts, Aviva. Thanks for sharing them. I would add more and it’s not necessarily related to the classroom but sharing none the less.

    We share because it makes us more observant to what is going on and we share so that we don’t forget.

    To me, the proof lies in the actual implementation. Right now, I just picked up my MacBook Pro and I’m in search of a Twitter message that I shared this morning about the new Safari so that I can poke around. I was using a Chromebook when I read the original message.

    My original share may not mean anything to others but it’s a chance to share my learning with anyone who cares to join me and now I get the benefit myself by going back and finding it.

    There was a time when I would just bookmark it and go back but I’ve learned that that approach teeters on selfishness. If it’s good for me, it has the potential to be good for others.

    • Thanks for the comment, Doug! What a great addition. It’s funny, as I actually went to include one more point around “parent engagement” when you wrote your comment. I wonder how many other ideas will come to mind now that I’ve published this post for the second time. Sharing also allows for multiple insights. Without blogging about this topic, I likely wouldn’t have heard your addition here, and it’s a reason that I often share as well. It makes some of the resources that I want to return to easier to find, and when I tweet it, others often join in on the discussion. I’m curious to hear the additions that others might share.


  2. This is so great, Aviva. With everything frazzled, I haven’t set up my twitter or Instagram accounts for this year’s class, but I still found myself needing to document what was happening. So, I posted them on my own accounts. I’m wondering about continuing to do that, as well as with class accounts (and giving the kids the job of documenting, too). Years ago, Doug Peterson got me started on this idea of tweeting in a Labour Day post about collating the week’s images into your newsletter/blog post – which I’ll be putting together tomorrow. For me, looking at what we’ve done helps me look at what’s next.

    • Thanks for the comment, Lisa! I’m curious to hear what you end up doing. Having kids involved in the documentation is a wonderful idea. Your last line really resonated with me. Paula and I feel the same way. To me, this is a key component of pedagogical documentation. You make me think about the role that documentation plays in learning for kids of all ages (another blog post πŸ™‚ ).


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