I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Twitter - My first year...

Twitter. Hah. Justin Bieber is all I could think of. Who wants to know about him or the Kardashians? I don't have time for this. Our principal, Brian Kaye, encouraged us in August to join before the 2011-2012 school year started. I did, because I (usually) do as I'm told. Used it for the opening-day activities, then stopped.

Started up again in February of 2012.

        I don't know why.

         I'm so very glad I did.

Since I started creating a PLN...
* I have been challenged.
* I have become more reflective.
* I have been inspired.
* I have had conversations with educators from around the globe.
* I have read more professional literature than ever before.
* I have fallen back in love with photography.
* I found out about free professional development edcamps & attended on a Saturday in August.
* I began a blog and use it to reflect, and share.
* My classroom is transparent.
* My students now have one day a week to learn whatever they want to learn.
* We've Skyped with and learned from four classes this year.
* Participating in the Global Read Aloud, we shared ideas on a Weebly with students from Canada.
* We are a connected classroom, sharing our blog posts through #comments4kids.
* Our classes now have a student station instead of a teacher desk.
* My teaching has transformed... and I hope to keep growing professionally.

Questions I still ponder...
* Why are the number of followers and people I'm following significant? Or are they? Isn't it the connections you make that count? Isn't it the things you learn from others that count? Isn't it the conversation that counts?? I'm currently following __ and have __ followers. Really?! Does it matter?
* What will be the next big shift I make in my teaching that comes from these connections? This scares me, intrigues me, and makes me anxious and excited all at the same time!
* Who will be the next teacher that inspires me? I have a few that I thanked personally today on Twitter, because I truly think of them as mentors in my life. Why do I feel like I know them? Why can't they come work with me?
* How much more learning can I take? Every day I'm bombarded with blogs to read, statistics to absorb, comments to share, books to devour, conversations in which to partake... When will I learn the balance so I don't feel so overwhelmed with this constant flow of information? How can I learn to not feel bad if I don't read someone's post or comment on his or her question?
* How can I get more teachers at my school on Twitter? How can I show them the value I have gotten out of it? How can I help them see that learning from more people than the 5 they work with everyday is so valuable? Is it okay if I can't do this? Is it okay with ME?

I truly love my life. No, not as a result of Twitter... as a result of people. My husband is the epitome of enjoying the heck out of little things and showing me the value of time. My seventh graders make me laugh every day, and give me multiple reasons to smile. My PLN is the other huge positive force in my life. They challenge me, encourage me, and strengthen me. This is just after 11 months on Twitter... What does the next year hold in store?


  1. Joy,
    I love your stream of consciousness writing. You have said so much for all of us and asked so many of our questions! Beautiful.

    It is hard to imagine what happens as a result of this simple digital tool unless you jump in and give it time to take, like you did.

    I'm about in the same place as you, except I have two years of exciting challenges, encouragement and strength derived from my PLN.

    I do look forward to the next year. As Karen Lirenman wrote on her blog: "Looking forward to more adventures in 2013. As I found out very clearly in 2012 you just never know what's around the corner." I could so relate to that. Here's her post.

    Thanks for saying it so well for all of us who have gotten to know the joy of using Twitter.


    1. Thanks, Denise!
      Yes, it's hard to imagine another year of this type of connectedness and learning. When I read Karen's post (I read and commented just this morning!), I was wondering what 2013 has in store. I am looking forward to the adventure! One thing this life is not - boring! Here's to 2013, and "meeting" even more educators like you!

  2. Joy, a fabulous reflection of what twitter has meant to you. I too am a very different educator because of the amazing PEOPLE I have connected with through twitter. It shocks me some times that just 18 months ago I didn't know any of these people and now they have such a huge impact on me, and my personal and professional growth. The future is scary, but knowing there are such incredible people along for the ride with me makes it far less scary. Thanks for journey in on the adventure. :-) Karen

    1. Karen,
      It's funny how we wrote almost the same thing, but from two such different viewpoints! I remember reading people's blog posts regarding Twitter when I first jumped in, and I thought... There's no way. No way it could have the impact people say...or could it? Now I am assured of all the possibilities being connected to so many like-minded people could bring. "Meeting" go-getters such as you gives me more fuel for "going" and "getting" myself! Thanks, and here's to whatever possibilities 2013 brings!