It’s that time of year when traditional classroom teachers/educators are preparing for a new group of students. Preparations include organizing curriculum and lesson plans, creating a welcoming environment, and gathering classroom supplies. So much prep work goes into getting the first day, first week, first month just right. In the midst of all of this amazing preparation, communication is in the mix. While this may still be in the planning stages, it’s important to start thinking about and possibly brainstorming ideas on…What HASHTAG(s) will you create to build culture in your classroom or school?
A few years ago, the school I work in rallied around (and continues to rally around) the hashtag #DriveFwd. I have seen amazing teaching and learning I may have never been able to experience without following the #DriveFwd Hashtag. Posting to and following our school Hashtag has contributed to a culture of sharing and learning from others in AND outside of our building. We no longer work in a building where we are in isolation. Through the Hashtag #DriveFwd our community has grown globally.
Since I have seen the power of the Hashtag in a school setting as we’ve grown together sharing and learning from each other, I wonder if creating classroom Hashtags can also build that community within the smaller community of learners? Will there be barriers and obstacles? Can I expect or require my students to use Social Media? How do I create a Hashtag? Will I have time to use it? Can I tweet during classroom instruction? I’m not saying there won’t be growing pains along the way. There will be risks to take.
Imagine if you create a classroom Hashtag now, before your students arrive. A Hashtag unique to you and your students. A Hashtag that anyone can search to see and learn what’s happening in your classroom. How AMAZING will that be? The learning that you share for the entire year is archived and documented. It becomes a living portfolio of ideas, photos, videos of you and your students and the growth and progress that happens throughout your year together.
You can’t afford to wait. Create your classroom Hashtag now. Post it all over your classroom. Tweet it on the first day of school to your parents. Share as much as you can, whenever you can using your classroom Hashtag. You won’t have regrets when you look back at the end of the year and see the growth documented.
George Couros @gcouros has great tips in his Blog Post:
Here are some steps that you will have to do to start a hashtag for your class (says @gcouros):
- Think of something easy and as short as possible. For example, for our PSD70 “Learning Leader Project” , I will use the hashtag #psd70LLP. This is just a build of our school division hashtag with 3 simple initials to add on to differentiate it from the regular #Psd70 hashtag making it simple and easy to remember.
- Do a search of the hashtag that you want to use. This is really important as you want to establish a presence using this hashtag so that there is no mixup with another group that is using the same thing. For example, many people use the #AbEd hashtag for Alberta Education, but there is also a small group of people that use #Abed for the character Abed in the show “Community”. There is such a small group of people that use this hashtag that it is barely noticed, but you do not want to be in the minority if you are using this for a class.
- Figure out a hashtag that can be used for the same subject area across your school. If you are going to use a hashtag for something like Grade 10 Chemistry, create it with all of the teachers in your school that teach that same subject. This knocks down the physical walls as well as time barriers of classes. You can easily share the learning between the same course that is delivered at different time using this hashtag. Once it is figured it out, share it with the school, teachers, and parents.
What are you waiting for? What will your classroom Hashtag be?