An important part of my role as a student learning coach in a K-5 building (with over 40 teachers) is to encourage each of them to implement new or different ideas whenever, wherever, and however they can in order to enhance student learning outcomes. That effort starts with sharing diverse ideas in a fashion that can be quickly and readily consumed by those teachers – teachers who are facing more demands than ever for their time and attention and are being challenged to personalize student learning to directly impact every student in a measurable way. So, to reach those teachers with new ideas, I have taken to publishing an organized Twitter stream called @Learning100.
The @Learning100 concept is simple and straightforward – share 100 ideas throughout the school year, one idea at a time, in a concise format (i.e. a tweet), that teachers can quickly digest and assess if it might apply to some challenge they are facing in the classroom. Ideas for the tweets can come from anywhere and be on a wide variety of topics: leadership, creativity, professional learning communities, coaching principles, or anything that could be relevant. Some ideas are reminders of tried and true methods for differentiating classroom activities so that individual student experiences are improved. Some ideas are mentioned in anticipation of upcoming opportunities and can be tailored to what’s going on in the building currently.
The source of the ideas could come from a teacher inside the building wanting to share a success (or failure). Many of the ideas come from the greater community of educators out there in the trenches who know what works (and doesn’t) with real children, and this is an opportunity to quickly expose teachers to outside ideas. Each idea/tweet is intended to serve as a spark that hopefully ignites engaged student learning.
So, what does a typical tweet/idea look like? Many of the @Learning100 ideas are routines found in The EduProtocols Field Guide (Hebern & Corippo) or Visible Thinking Routines from Project Zero that provide instant engagement, differentiation, rigor, and a framework to focus thinking. Using routines can increase student and teacher bandwidth for thinking. Instead of teachers and learners wasting time trying to figure out what an activity is asking them to do, save time by using a clear high impact structure that becomes a habit. Used again and again, engagement, confidence, and deeper thinking and learning can occur.
The benefit of the @Learning100 collection is that the stream of ideas is always there in one place for teachers to access. If a teacher is not ready for an idea today, when they are, they can come back to find it. When an idea resonates with a teacher, it serves as the jumping off point for that individual to engage in a focused coaching session(s) with a teacher.
In my school, teachers can then partner with me to take the idea and personalize their instruction for a particular group of students. This is the key to my work as a Student Learning Coach because learners are constantly changing. It’s our calling to personalize the learning strategies that will make the most impact on the learners that we are working within the here and now.
Learning 100 is just one way that I share ideas. In-house professional learning, district level professional learning, individual coaching sessions, emails, Flipgrids, and many informal hallway walk and talks are some of the various ways to capture a teacher leader/learner when they are ready. Then I highlight and celebrate my specific work with teachers on my personal Twitter account @mrsjulienelson. Are you ready to join us @Learning100?
Teachers are doing the most difficult work on the planet. They are hungry to learn, try new things, and reflect on their art and passion for teaching and learning. To teachers everywhere, I am with you. We can learn and lead together.
Hop on over to @learning100 to connect and dream big with me.
Julie Nelson is currently a Student Learning Coach in Arlington Heights, School District 25. Over the past 20 years, her experience as an Advanced Learning Facilitator, K-5 Gifted Specialist, and 4th/5th Grade Classroom Teacher has ignited her passion for challenging all learners. She believes that together we can create opportunities for a high impact on student learning. She holds a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a Masters degree in Educational Leadership. Presently, she sponsors the 5th grade Drone Racing Club and is passionate about creating innovative learning experiences.