#Choose2Matter Project: Teacher Reflection Part 2: Students, I just don’t get sometimes!!!

We are wrapping up our second week of working on the amazing #Choose2Matter project. As I have shared in a previous post, this project is causing my brain to ooze out of my ears. After one more week of working, adding more students to the mix, and navigating my way through the channels of learning how to learn I had to send out the following email to all of my students.

Hello everyone!

Another week has gone by as we prepare to get things moving into the next phase of this project this week.

Over the weekend I will be emailing all of you individually letting you know how I think you are doing. I think that so far we have students ranging from doing some amazing things and others who are not contributing much. This is all learning process as you are being asked to think in new ways and do things without following step by step directions. I will hope to provide some guidance on these issues soon, but in the meantime I wanted to touch base via email to just go over everything we have talked about doing this week each day in class.

1. Every person in this project – both Dream Team and Quest Team(project people) should have AT LEAST two blog posts about their learning journey. These should be more than just one statement. Go into detail about what you are doing, what you are accomplishing, what you are learning, questions you have, things you are struggling with, etc. These should be deep reflections. As some of you are not sure what to write about, then this should be the red flag in your mind telling you that YOU ARE NOT DOING ENOUGH!!!

You are given over 200 minutes of class time each week to work. Do you have 200 minutes worth of work shared, documented, collaborated, and moving forward? If not, then you are not digging deep to challenge yourself.

2. DREAM TEAM – You are answer to the question

What is the purpose of education?

You have had all week to work on this question as I know there has not been much going on with your actual teams. Your answers should be thoughtful and presented in a deep meaningful way. Be sure you have your voices heard. I have reviewed some amazing videos and projects already. REMEMBER: You answer to this question should reflect that you spent more than 10 minutes on it. Be creative and challenge yourself.

3. PROJECT TEAM – keep working hard to make your project happen. This project is about you owning this. Don’t just sit and wait for people to call back to do your work. They want to see what YOU are doing. I know that for the projects to work you need additional help, but challenge yourself to get things done. Next week you have to submit your project so begin to think about how you want to showcase your project. Are you taking pictures, documenting your journey, have a vision for what else is needed? Now is the time to think about how you are going to share out your project on your blog in addition to working to make the project happen.

If you need the weekend to rework, add, modify, etc. anything please use it.If you are fixing things and need me to look at something else please let me know. I am resource, but will not give you the answer. YOU must LEARN how to LEARN and to CHALLENGE yourself.

***End Email***

I share this with you because at sit a crossroads as a teacher. The very same crossroads that I think all teachers face in education. How do we get kids to push themselves? I have some students who are blowing me out of the water with their ideas, articulation, self drive, teaching themselves how to learn, communication, etc.

I have others who just don’t “get it”. Maybe thinking on their own is too hard. Maybe they are scared. Maybe they don’t know how? I am letting them figure it out on their own. What is hard to gauge is who is being lazy vs. who is just stuck? At the middle school level they don’t always like to ask questions.

I want them to challenge themselves.

I want them to learn how to learn because that is the real world. Can you learn x so you can accomplish y? The world needs more thinkers and people who can learn and adapt.

I want my students to rise to the top and exceed their expectations as well as mine. I have lofty goals and I do become frustrated when I see them no push themselves. If you look on our class blog we have started where they must document their learning you will see what I mean. Some are doing great things and others not that much.

The key piece here is how to know when to push and get on their case and when to just let them explore because they are at a plateau right now and not sure how to scale the next mountain? It is a delicate balance a teacher must figure out and do right to help them be the people I want them to be.

I hope that another week of poking and prodding I will have some of them begin to take charge, not depend on others, and MAKE IT HAPPEN! That is what I want. I know they will be most proud if they do that even if they don’t realize it yet.


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#coffeechugPLN Twitter Chat Archive on Mindset Part 2

A few days behind due to a crazy schedule this week, but here is a link to the archive of our #coffeechugPLN Twitter Chat from Tuesday. The chat was another success where we continued our conversation on Mindset.

It is intriguing to hear how we view mindset between fixed vs. growth. I would love to keep this conversation going, but it is good to keep things fresh so next we will move to another topic. Perhaps we will jump back into mindset in the future.

Thank you to everyone who joined the chat. There were some dynamic people sharing ideas and thoughts.

To see all prior chats, archives, questions as well as future events check out the wiki page

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#coffeechugPLN Twitter Chat: Mindset Discussion #2

When? Tuesday, May 7th

Time? 8:00 pm central time

Hashtag? #coffeechugPLN

Chat #3: Mindset Chat #2 based on research of Carol Dweck.

We will be diving back into the topic of Mindset after a great chat on this topic last week. This will be covering ideas from chapters 2 and 3 from the book Mindset by Carol Dweck for those that have the book and want to follow along.

The wiki with all recordings of the Twitter Chats and other quality materials about education and PLN is available here – http://coffeechugcrowdsourcing.wikispaces.com/CoffeechugPLN+Twitter+Chat

I have posted the questions that I will be using for the chat Tuesday night for those that like to see things ahead of time and prepare a bit. If you don’t want to see it ahead of time, don’t go there and look!

See you Tuesday night!

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Online Tips: Cleaning Up Email Signature and About Me Page

I have been working on tidying up a few things to my online presence. The first thing I needed to clean up was my email signature.

Here is what I had

Amanda(my wife) always makes fun of me for this signature as she cannot believe that I have all this junk stockpiled at the bottom of each email I send out. I thought that I needed to clarify my jobs and duties in the school so I never viewed it as bragging, but more of an obligation to let people know who they were talking to in the emails.
After reading Platform, I decided that it was time to clean things up. I took his advice and used what he shared in the book. Here is what I have now.
It looks much simpler, but really broadcasts everything about me. They can now find whatever they want. I really like this approach. I have made the necessary changes.
The other thing I cleaned up was my About Me page on my blog. I followed most of the advice and tried to clean it up a bit. I did not follow all advice because I just can’t be 100% serious. I have to mix in my personality a bit, but I think I still made some major improvements from before. My old about me page was a joke and really wasted space. I took some of the old and mixed it in with the new and I think it turned out okay. I think it can use some work, but it is on the right track.

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#coffeechugPLN Twitter Chat 4.30.13 Mindset Part 1 Archive

Wow! Last night we had a great chat. As I continue to explore Twitter and run chats(this was my second one) I am loving my PLN more and more. Much thanks to everyone who showed up last night. The design of the chat last night was to start off with questions to get the members reflecting on themselves and ideas and then moving forward to think more whole school and whole child application with mindset. I think it went very well and that was because the participants were very open and honest. Without them, the chat suffers.

I really look forward to continuing this talk about mindset. We will be running a mini series of Twitter chats on Mindset over the next few weeks.

Here is a link to the archive of the chat – Remember to start at the bottom and read up.

Check it out and be sure to follow these people if you are not already doing so. Some are experts and others are teachers new to Twitter who have been following the self paced Twitter for Educator course I put together.

I will be sending out details on the next #coffeechugPLN Mindset Part 2 chat later this week along with questions in case you want prepare ahead of time.

Until next time, work on creating that growth mindset in yourself, students, and kids.

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Coffeechug Twitter Task 11: Making Use of Twitter Lists #coffeechugPLN

Another popular question asked from our first #coffeechugPLN chat was

How do I make and use lists?

Let us start with defining and explaining what a Twitter List is and is not.

A Twitter list is a group of Twitter users that you can create and curate based on your needs. You are able to create one by yourself or if you want to subscribe to a list that is already created you can do that also. Basically, this list will give you a log of all Tweets from the users included on that list.

A thing to remember is that a Twitter list is for reading ONLY! You are not able to DM or tweet to the members of the list if you wanted only those people to see it.

Lists will allow you to read tweets by people that you do not follow. If you don’t want to follow a lot of people and feel overwhelmed, then creating lists for certain topics are your golden ticket.

You cannot add yourself to a list, but you can check to see what lists you are added to.

I will talk about this and more in the video below. I figured it would be easiest to make a tutorial.

Please let me know if I forgot anything about Twitter Lists.

To view the previous tasks and other information for educators please check out my wiki

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#coffeechugPLN Twitter Chat Archive and Reflection

Thank you to everyone who attended our first ever #coffeechugPLN chat last night. The goal was to help teachers new to Twitter get a sense of a chat and learn to make new connections and put into practice all the things they have been learning.

I did archive the chat and you can read all tweets from the chat. The first chat entry is at the bottom and you will have to work your way up to the top to follow the chat.

We had a nice group of people pop in throughout the night. Be sure to check them out on Twitter give them a follow. I believe we had 22 people(not including myself) add to the chat last night. I am quite happy with that turnout for my first ever chat.

Here is the list of participants last night. Some are veteran Twitter experts and some are brand new. Do your part to connect and meet each of these people.


I thought the chat went good for the first time. I know that I can moderate a bit better and will on some things to improve the next time I host a chat. I know to have some resources available. I thought I had things planned out well enough, but I think I can do better. I am also going to try out Twitterchat next time. A few of my tweets did not have the hashtag and I was told Twitterchat automatically adds the hashtag.

This is what I love. As I try to help others learn and improve I find myself constantly learning as well.

This conversation has lead me to add some more to the Twitter for Educator self paced course I have been working on. It was great to actually talk with the educators and find out what they need. I will be adding Tasks 10 and 11 later this week based on the conversation.

Thank you everyone for a great hour of discussion last night. Check the chat archive linked above and all resources and upcoming events will be shared on the #coffeechugPLN Twitter chat page.

If you have questions, additional resources based on the chat please leave a comment or tweet to #coffeechugPLN. I am working to do another chat in two weeks so if you have a good topic, please send my way.

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Coffeechug PLN – Twitter for Educators Task 7: Third Party Software

We are coming close to the end of this course on Twitter for educators. Hopefully by now you have started to become comfortable with using Twitter to connect and communicate with other educators. As you continue to dive deeper into Twitter you will find that there are tools created by third party companies to make your life much easier.

This particular task is twofold.

1. I want you to play around and explore some tools designed to help you make better use of Twitter. I have provided a list below of tools to use. I am an avid fan of Tweetdeck. That is my go to source when doing Twitter chats and when I want to follow a certain hash tag or person. I have referenced Tweetdeck before in the previous tasks. However, I don’t want my use to be the only opinions that you follow. Check out the list below. Test these out and find one that works best for you.


2. When you find one that suits your needs and interests do a little write up on the wiki page  under the tool that you used and explain what you liked or disliked about the tool. By crowdsourcing our ideas we can gain a more well rounded perspective of the tools. Be sure to tweet out to the #coffeechugPLN network when you add to the wiki so we can read what you shared.

Besides Twitter tools to help with chats and following hashtags there are some nifty websites out there to help analyze your data of your networks as well. These are not a necessity, but do help to give you a broader sense of your network and things you are doing. Take a look at these just to explore. If you have another tool be sure to add it to the list.


Your goal for this task is to explore and play. It is not designed to overwhelm you. There are many tools available. The key is to find the ones that work for you. I cannot determine that, but personally I use the Twitter app for my phone because it is simple and easy and I use Tweetdeck. Those are the two that I use. Others swear by other tools. Explore and please share our your findings on the wiki so others can use it as a reference and compare notes.

When we chat next on Tuesday perhaps you will be able to test out one of these new tools to see how it works out for you.

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    Coffeechug PLN – Twitter for Educators Task 5: Extra Commands and Terms to Know

    Here we are moving forward on to Task 5: Extra Commands. These are just some more things for you to explore and get to know in order to be more savvy on Twitter.

    I have made a video to go over the following content in case you are a visual learner

    The whole Twitter Course for Educators can be found here 

    Direct Message – If we think back to the idea of Twitter being a conversation, then this is more like whispering to someone. This is designed for only you and who you are contacting to read. Nobody else. Nobody else will be able to see what is shared between you and the person you are contacting. In order to do this, you must both be following one another.

    Hashtags – Think Bat signal. Hashtags are the words or abbreviations that follow the pound symbol in tweets. For this course we have been using #coffeechugPLN. This allows anyone to follow all tweets with that particular hashtag group. You will see hashtags used for chats, classrooms, group discussions, conferences, backchannels, etc. They come in quite handy especially when taking part in Twitter chats or attending conferences.

    This is why it is important to keep tweets to around 120 characters so there is room for hashtags and retweets.

    When you start to follow a chat or use third party software(which will be covered in an upcoming task) you can divide up your Twitter feed by hashtags.

    For example, I use Tweetdeck which allows me to create columns. I created columns for each of the hashtags that I find valuable. I know the screenshot below is hard to read, but I have my favorite hashtags organized so I can follow trends and specific discussion.

    You will hear this term used when talking with people about Twitter or trying to exchange information while at conferences or other places. They will ask you what your Twitter handle is. This is your name with the @insertname. This is how they can search for you and track you down. When you want to tweet someone always start with the @ symbol. As you begin to type your list of people will show up based on letters chose. You can let others see the tweet if you don’t start with the handle. If you start with the handle, then only the people who follow the you and the person you are writing can see it.

    This one is a newer one to me, but as I continue to explore and learn more about Twitter I see a great benefit to being part of the masses and use this. This is a hashtag, but one that stands for “Follow Friday”. On Fridays you will see people tweet #FF followed by a bunch of handles afterwards. This is kind of like a Twitter holiday where it gives you a chance to share out people that you think others should follow. It helps to spread the word about people on Twitter that need to be noticed.

    @reply vs @mention

    I talked about this in Task 4, but just to clarify one more time.

    The way you phrase your tweet makes a big difference in how it is delivered.

    A @reply (when you start a Tweet with handle) can be seen by you, the person you sent the Tweet, and anyone who follows both of you. However, it does not go into the news feed for all of your followers.

    “@coffeechugbooks Yes, I love to drink coffee too!”
    You would use this method when you don’t think the message is of any value for everyone to read.

    A @mention (when you start a tweet with your message with the Twitter handle included within the message) can be seen by you, the person you sent the Twee, and everyone in your news feed.

    “Hello @coffeechug, what is your favorite coffee to drink?”

    Using this format your tweet will be seen by more people.

    Just one word can have an impact on how it is shared with the public and your newsfeed. Remember they are both public, but just show up differently.

    Objectives For This Task

    1. This goes back to Task #4, but is important to making connections so I am adding it again. Continue to retweet beneficial tweets. A key question is

    When Do You RT?

    I would suggest that you retweet for one of the following reasons

    • Important for others in your network to read or use
    • You want to share some news that you feel is worthwhile to spread
    • Helpful article or thought provoking article/blog post
    • Sometimes it is nice to share something funny like a joke.

    2. Begin to explore various hashtags and see what you find to be useful. We are covering Twitter Chats next so it might be good to find a few to possibly check out. I am already seeking advice on the good ones for people to check out.

    3. Direct Message someone. Just try it out. Test out how it works and how to access the messages. You can always DM me if you don’t have anyone to message or not sure who to test.

    4. I know it is not Friday yet, but on Friday use the hashtag #FF to share out new people you have connected with through this journey. It is always good to give recognition. We are just like our students and it feels good to see our names!


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    Twitter Chats For Educators

    Before I get blasted by everyone telling me that there are lists all over the internet of Twitter chats I want to let everyone know that I know. There are so many hashtags available anymore that it is impossible to decipher what is good, what still exists, and what is really worth your time.

    As I work to develop a self paced course for Twitter for Educators I want them to feel connected and successful right away.

    I am asking that people help me fill out this very simple 3 question form.


    The form is going to ask you to share the Twitter chats that you use and why you find them valuable.

    Very simple.

    But, very helpful for those starting out.

    Thank you for taking time to fill out the form and you can view the responses here


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