Thursday, 8 January 2015

First #WeirdTBC Chat Complete

I don't mind one bit that this image reminds me of HIMYM.
I do, however, mind the backwards "E".
Love the idea, though!
It's so great to see something that you've thought about and helped organize come to life. Not that long ago (December 21st, to be exact), I noticed some educators that I follow on Twitter were talking about starting a book chat based on the book, "He's the Weird Teacher". I love learning from the author, Doug Robertson, on Twitter and had started reading the book (and enjoying it tremendously), so I chimed in. Because I worship at the altar of Google and can't think of ANY better collaboration tool, I whipped up a Google Doc and invited anyone to edit. We started putting together a framework for a weekly Book Chat. The planning was made even easier when Melissa Eddington started a Voxer group for people to share ideas. I had heard lots about Voxer, but never used it. I was surprised to see how easy the "Walkie Talkie" app is to use. You simply join a group and can listen to messages as they come in live, or save them for later. You can also write text messages to the same group. Aside from a 30 second accidental audio message I added while trying to show off the app to Tiiu, I've found it really simple and easy to use!

Tonight, at 8 p.m. my time (EDT), we had our first #WeirdTBC chat. Melissa hosted and, aside from small Twitter glitches (technology always works the worst when you want to prove how easy it is to use), it was a smooth chat with lots of participation. I think it was a great success for our first chat.

In the last of my tech complaints for this post, I nearly lost my mind earlier this week when my 2-year old Kindle Paperwhite (and, arguably, best friend) suddenly stopped working. I have ALL my reading on there and frequently highlight things I love and write notes. After speaking with an Amazon rep, I learned that it must be a hardware issue and I'm off warranty, so they could give me a small discount on a refurbished Kindle. That's it. Totally bummed, I realized that there's an iPhone Kindle app. Luckily, my wifi was on when my Kindle died, and all my highlights and notes were synced. Though I am not a fan of reading for long periods on my backlit and tiny iPhone screen, I was able to participate in the chat by using the highlights and notes I'd made. Phew.

I really like people who like "He's the Weird Teacher". Like a fellow Weird Teacher (Sandy Otto) in the chat said tonight, I've found my people. Doug's weekly chat (Wednesday nights at 10 p.m EDT) #WeirdEd is a highlight of my (digital, if not real) life. The things I love about the chat are the incredibly creative and thought-provoking topics and questioning strategies Doug uses to lead his chats. He picks a variety of fun, goofy and controversial topics and leads participants on a thought-provoking journey through his carefully planned questions. One week was a teaching as a metaphor for tattoos chat and just last night was a chat about American politician, Arne Duncan (Education Secretary). Some other Twitter chats are just too serious, too repetitive or too darn big. I always get something out of a Twitter chat. I always get A LOT out of a #WeirdEd chat.
Doug uses a lot of Matrix memes. He made this one.
In tonight's inaugural #WeirdTBC, we discussed chapters 1-4 and how our own teaching styles are reflected and inspired by the stories that Doug tells in his book. Melissa Storifyed (can I make Storify a verb?) the chat if you want to see what went on. It would be great to see the chat grow, so if you can get your hands on a copy of the book, we'd love to have you join us next week (time TBA)!

This is Doug's personal Rockstar Teacher mantra. I need something cooler than, "We all learn in different ways on different days."
A highlight for me tonight was getting to chat in more detail with some teachers I really enjoy connecting with. At the end of the chat, I put out a call to connect classes. Three teachers immediately responded, and instead of having one off Skype calls with them, I suggested we all collaborate and connect our classes. In the past, I've connected with other classes, and my kids and I have gotten so much out of it (new friends, global awareness, an authentic audience for our learning, collaborative planning). I've tried to take part in HUGE online connections (like Global Read Aloud), but like some Twitter chats, they've become so big, that's they can be overwhelming to navigate. I am looking forward to working with Sandy Otto, Courtney Albrecht and Jim Windisch and their classes. Want to offer some tips on our collaboration? Check out our planning doc!

I'll leave you with one of my other favourite discoveries of the night, a Mr. Rogers Remix.


  1. What wonderful words, Shauna. Thank you! And thank you for helping get this chat going.

  2. It was terrific to connect with everyone at the first chat. I'm really looking forward to growing more ideas in the garden of our minds!