Writing can be a lonely act. The writer sits alone at the computer or journal and pours her heart out onto the page. Those words will often stay silent, only seen by the writer's eye. But it doesn't have to be that way. Thanks to communities such the Slice of Life community and Twitter, we are able to connect with other writers -- to share our words, our hopes, our fears, our celebrations, our reflections, and more. Last night was the debut of our #TeachWrite chat and let me just say -- I was overwhelmed with the response and the sheer number of teachers and teacher-writers who came out to be a part of the conversation about how we can grow our practice of being teachers who write. At the end of the hour long chat, there were over 1,000 tweets! I came up with the idea for this chat a few months ago after trolling Twitter for tweets about teaching writing and not finding much. I found a lot about reading, Genius Hour, Makerspaces, and innovative teaching practices, but not a lot about writing. Twitter is an amazing connection tool, but it is also an excellent professional development tool. There needed to be more conversation about this topic. So I went to my friends Michelle Haseltine and Leigh Anne Eck (who I met through the Slice of Life community) with the idea of starting a Twitter chat and they jumped on board without hesitation. A little later, we talked Margaret Simon (another SOL friend) into joining us.
We want the #TeachWrite chat to serve the teachers who participate in the chat, whether actively tweeting, lurking, or reading the archives after. So we came up with a few guiding beliefs: 1. The chat would focus on nurturing teachers as writers, not necessarily on teaching writing. We strongly believe that by being teachers who write, we are better writing teachers. 2. Every chat would end with an invitation to write. This is based on our experience with the National Writing Project Summer Institutes. (August's Invitation to Write can be found here.) 3. Writers of ALL level are welcome to join in the conversation. You don't have to be published or a regular writer to participate and have a voice. You don't even need to have a blog. If you are even thinking of becoming a teacher-writer, we hope you will join us. 4. We would do all we could to support teachers who write.
I hope you were able to catch the #TeachWrite chat last night. I saw many familiar names and faces there. If you missed it and would like to catch up, you can read the Storify here. You can also answer the invitation to write on this month's topic - JOY! - and share your words by linking up on the #TeachWrite Chat blog. Our #TeachWrite chat will be the first Monday of every month, rain or shine, holiday or not. That means our next chat will be Monday, September 4th (Labor Day) at 7:30 PM EDT. Need help remembering? Sign up for the Remind here.
What did last night's chat teach me? 1. My words matter. 2. Connections matter. 3. I don't have to do this alone. 4. Teachers are the most generous, caring, supportive people on earth. (Actually...I already knew this one. The chat just cemented it deeper in my heart.) 5. There was a desperate need for a regular conversation around writing. 6. Sometimes tiny ideas turn into huge wins! Now, let's get writing!