I stumbled on the 4th grade chat (#4thchat) by accident. I was minding my business, perusing tweets, when this great conversation appeared before me. I had no idea what #chats were, I had never been a part of it,and I was kind of wary of jumping into someone else’s conversation. But I did, and I was glad. They welcomed me with open arms and I learned, and shared, so much from the teachers who participated. Kudos to the person or persons who came up with this idea!
So what is a #chat? And how do you get to be a part of it? Well, you need Internet access, a device that will get you on the Internet, and a Twitter account. Now, I know some of you think Twitter is for tweens, teenagers, etc…, but guess what? It’s also for teachers!
The #chats are hosted on the same day, at the same time, once a week. . Prior to the chat, the moderators send out a Tweet asking participants to choose one of the given topics.(How democratic,right?) The topic with the most votes is what will be discussed. The great thing about #chats is that they are informal. You can lurk and get ideas, or you can jump in and share.You can interact with all, or none, of the participants. You can join the conversation late, or leave early. And, I’ve never attended a toxic #chat, they have always been attended by , well, just very nice people.
The conversation is always stimulating, and strategies, books, ideas, links, and more are shared by like minds. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran, you will get something out of it. You definitely get a chance to meet new people who are interested in what you are interested in. I have to say I have met more people participating in #chats, than I had the entire time I was on Twitter.
Here’s another reason, I love #chat. Let’s say you would rather go out to dinner with your hubby, then attend a chat. But, you are bummed about missing that fantastic #chat they were having that night. Don’t worry! Each #chat is archived, so you won’t miss out on those wonderful ideas , and you can still enjoy your dinner.:)
And there are so many chats! There is#edchat, #4thchat, #5thchat, #6thchat, #teachchat, #ntchat, #educhat, #elemchat, the list is endless! Sometimes, I find myself looking at the intials of some of these chats, trying to figure out what they stand for. Don’t be like me, just ask, they’ll tell you. Cybraryman has put together a comprehensive list of Educational Chats on Twitter, so look through it, and see what interests you. His list includes, days, times, and time zones.
I remember seeing a question tweeted that said, and I’ll paraphrase, “Are all these chats breaking us apart?” I love the fact that all these chats are out there. I usually don’t get to many of them, but I try to make sure I attend #5thchat, because I am a 5th grade teacher. I enjoy talking to those who are experiencing my little part of the teaching world. Having said that, I also enjoy participating in other chats, because it gives me a chance to hear other viewpoints.
You choose your chat! I can almost bet that any #chat you attend, will most likely be a wonderful, learning, experience!