Yoga balls for chairs
On a snow day, Breyer and McCoy tweet out the hashtag “#ncsnowchat” and propose topics that center on opportunities for school growth, Breyer said.
The discussions can be moderated by anyone, he said, giving way to a host of Twitter-savvy teachers chatting online.
“It’s a way to continue learning for educators and let people talk in an open forum,” Breyer said. “We think of the hot topics that people need to know about and tweet them.”
In the three snow days this week, the chats discussed the Four Cs of Education, ways to re-create learning spaces and teacher leadership.
Trey Ferguson, a math teacher at Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, mediated the Tuesday discussion on redesigning classrooms. During this chat, educators discussed the need to make classrooms engaging places for students.
“I got into the chats this time last year when we were having the ‘snowpocalypse,’” Ferguson said. “I was new to Twitter and found it a really useful tool to connect with other educators who I wouldn’t otherwise be able to talk with.”
Ferguson said the snow chats have given him and other educators a chance to bond over issues they all face.
“It has definitely opened up communication in the field of education because I can make connections with teachers and administrators across the state and can take their feedback and implement it,” Ferguson said. “For example, teachers who want to get money to replace chairs with yoga balls will ask about which grants to use and other teachers will respond. It’s pretty cool.”
Julie Ross, a UNC alumnus and Spanish teacher at East Forsyth High School in Kernersville, said she accidentally came across Thursday’s chat about teacher leadership.
“It’s nice to know that there are people who are trying to further educate and develop themselves. We are never done learning, so these discussions are promising,” Ross said.
Laura Sexton, a Spanish teacher at Gaston Early College High School, also weighed in on Thursday’s snow chat.
“I’ve been waiting for this snow chat since last year,” Sexton said. “The chance to share your enthusiasm with people around the state while we have time away from our students is great.”
The snow chats evolved from other Twitter chats such as EDUchat, Adminchat and #admincamp, during which teachers use online forums to discuss education issues, Ferguson said.
“N.C. snow chats are different than the others because they aren’t on certain days of the week with certain moderators. They just sort of happen,” Ferguson said.
After every discussion, Breyer uploads the tweets to his Storify account, creating a short story from the different comments.
He said Storify helps keep all the information in one place and makes it easier for people to read.
Whether a teacher, administrator or curious parent, all are welcome to join the chats, which are helping make snow days a little more productive.
“Great discussion this afternoon #ncsnowchat! Absolutely incredible. #inspired #grateful #teachinginNC #professionallydeveloping,” Stewart tweeted at the close of Thursday’s chat.