Saturday, March 30, 2013

6 Tips to Gain Twitter Followers

Now that you have created a Twitter account and you know the lingo that is used, I will teach you ways that you can gains followers. Gaining followers on Twitter helps you network with other professionals who have the same interests and increases your reach.

1. Interesting Profile - To attract followers make sure you have a photo of just you and make sure that you have a catchy bio so when people look at your profile they are interested. Examples of some famous educators: 

2. Tweet Well and Often - Ideally you should tweet 2 times per day about different subjects. Be interesting, post links, and post photos so that people want to follow you.

3. Follow Others - Find people that are similar to you and follow them, but don't follow too many people because that could cause others to not want to follow you.

 4. Ask for Retweets - This will help to spread your tweets all over the Twitter network and might attract new people. The more you retweet others, the more they will want to do the same for you.

5. Search Tweets - Search for tweets with keywords related to things that you are interested in. This could show them that you have something in common and they might follow you back.

 6. Use Hashtags - Using hashtags will connect you to people that share your interests and will increase the visibility of your tweets.

Here is a great video where Amy Porterfield tells you places you can go to create good tweets that will help you get noticed.

Try these 6 easy steps to help you gain more followers and hopefully you become a pro tweeter! Happy Tweeting!

Monday, March 18, 2013

7 Twitter Terms for Novice Tweeters

When browsing Twitter, you might see words that seem foreign to you. Don't worry, this blog will teach you everything you need to know about the art of tweeting. Here are some things you might see:

Follow/Follower - To follow someone on Twitter is to be able to see what they tweet. If someone is following you, they are subscribing to your tweets.

Tweet - A tweet is a 140 character message you post, that can be seen by your followers.

@ - The @ sign helps you to refer to another individual on Twitter, whether as a mention or a reply. It appears before someone's username.

# - The # or "hashtag" is used to group tweets by keywords. It is very useful for events.

RT - This stands for "retweet" and is used when you like something that someone else posted. When you retweet it, it is like re-sending it for your followers to see.

Favorite - To "favorite" someone's tweet shows that you like it and want to be able to view it later. When you favorite a tweet, it doesn't re-post that tweet.

DM - A DM or "direct message" is a private message that you can send to one of your followers without allowing the public to see it.

Hopefully this helped you with some of your Twitter confusion, but if you would like to watch a video on Twitter lingo, check out this video:
This was a guest blog by high school student, Kirsten Myers. We would love to hear your ideas for using Twitter to grow professionally or to engage your students. Make sure to follow @readingsecrets on Twitter. Happy Tweeting!

Monday, March 11, 2013

9 Reasons to Use Twitter in School

If you are already on Facebook, than you have the skills you need to create a Twitter account. More than one billion tweets are sent every 2-3 days across Twitter, which has become a social network of significant importance in every continent, and almost every country around the world. Twitter isn't just all fun and games, it has many benefits for educators on the go. In addition, you NEVER have to Tweet a thing, you can just follow researchers, organizations, and authors. If you do not have a Twitter account yet, watch this tutorial to help you sign up:

 Laura Walker's blog,  gives us 9 reasons to use Twitter in schools.
1. Together We're Better - Teachers can access a stream of links, ideas, opinions, and resources from global professionals. When I am standing in line at the grocery store I scroll through my Twitter feed to discover new ideas shared by the leading researchers in literacy. This is so much faster than typing in Kelly Gallagaher's website and then Kylene Beer's website. This feed is similar to Facebook's newsfeed. 
2. Global or Local: your choice - It is up to you who you choose to follow, you can connect with people from around the world or you can follow local people. For the first six months I typed in researchers and authors I liked to see if they were on Facebook. If they were, I followed them. Now I can see what topics are being researched and or written about. Here are a few people for you to start to follow:

@Scholastic -  The official Twitter account of Scholastic, including Scholastic Book Clubs and Book Fairs. Tweet us with your thoughts on books & education!
@judyblume - Are You There, Twitter? It's Me, Judy
@The_Pigeon (Mo Williams) C’mon! Just once around the block!
@donalynbooks (Donalyn Miller) reader, teacher, blogger, author of The Book Whisperer, #nerdybookclub and #bookaday facilitator, #titletalk co-host
@KellyGToGo - (Kelly Gallagher) I teach, I write, I travel, I talk—to help kids become better readers and writers.
@KyleneBeers - Educator. Speaker. Author. Tech-savvy wanna-be. Sometime blogger. 2008-2009 NCTE Pres. 2011 CEL Leadership Award.
@gailandjoan (The Daily Café)
@TheScienceGuy Bill Nye, Science Educator seeks to change the world.
3. Self-Awareness and reflective practice - Reflect on what you are doing in your classroom and see what needs improvement. Teachers on Twitter can share these ideas and support and challenge each other. 
4. Ideas workshop and sounding board - Twitter is great for sharing ideas and getting instant feedback. You can get different opinions and criticisms to help you improve what you're doing in the classroom. 
5. Newsroom and innovation showcase - Twitter helps you stay up-to-date with the latest news or developments in your point of interest. 
6. Professional development and critical friends - Teachers can talk about what they are working on or struggling with and get helpful ideas from other teachers or professionals. 
7. Quality-assured searching - Trust the people you follow so that you can value their ideas. This will provide you with higher-quality information than a Google search would. 
8. Communicate, communicate, communicate - You will learn to become better at expressing your professional thoughts to others in 140 characters. 
9. Getting with the times has never been so easy! - Twitter is not complicated at all! Go to and create an account. Also, there are plenty of websites that offer advice for getting started.

Thank you for reading this blog, now go make a Twitter and tweet all your professional thoughts and ideas! Don't forget to follow me: @readingsecrets

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Two Birds, One Stone: Digital Poetry for ELLs

Over the past few years, school districts in 46 states have been reshaping their literacy instruction to align their curriculum with the Common Core State Standards (CCSSI, 2010). Two of the more significant changes to English Language Arts standards are in the area of writing and multimodal instruction. CCSS place a stronger emphasis on writing and indicate a broader definition of literacy. For example, fifth grade students are expected to analyze the author’s manipulation of media, create a multimedia presentation, and produce a two page typed document (CCSSI, 2010).
In addition, new literacies challenge our relationship with the writing process. As a result, educators need to re-evaluate and expand their understanding of literacy to include multimodal composition. In traditional poetry, composition is mediated on a piece of paper. The author’s goal is to evoke feelings and mental images through the printed text on a page. In digital poetry,  composition is mediated on a screen and meaning is defined by the author’s use of sound, images, and textual motion (Hayles, 2008).Click here to interact with a digital poem by Jason Nelson.
Curwood and Cowell (2011) maintained their iPoetry project increased 10th grade students’ awareness of audience, a greater attention to mood, and self-reflection. Findings from this study suggests multimodal composition afforded students a meaningful tool to explore poetry within a collaborative, multimedia environment. In addition, digital poetry connected out of school literacies with classroom instruction and added relevance to the study of poetry as a genre.
Canadian researchers, Hughes & John (2009) implemented digital poetry with 6th and 7th grade students. The results highlighted the development of critical literacy and collaboration skills. According to the authors, the use of multimodal composition taught students how the use of multiple modes could increase the mood, imagery, and voice of the poem. In addition, the quality of students’ writing improved along with their ability to edit.
Is poetry instruction still relevant in a time when we are preparing students for high-stakes testing in school while we read and write on cell phones, iPads, and laptops out of school? According to these two studies, the answer is, “Yes.” Digital poetry bridges new literacy skills with traditional poetry instruction in a collaborative environment. Any opportunities educators can build a bridge between out of school and in school literacies could increase student motivation and engagement to learn. The affordances of digital poetry instruction can provide the collaborative digital environment students’ desire while meeting the academic demands of the CCSS.

For a blog response choose one of the options below:
1. Choose one of the six principles of writing from chapter 5 in Li & Edwards' (2010) Best Practices in ELL Instruction, and make an Animoto video to represent your learning. 
2. Use an Animoto video to compare your process of typing a blog response  to making and Animoto video for a response. What did you notice? Which did you like better? Why?