During my time at the Teachers College Writing Institute this past summer, one of my group session leaders was Chris Lehman, who has written books about teaching research writing and helping unmotivated young writers. He’s an amazing instructor and has excellent strategies for teaching research writing, which has always been challenging for me. One great piece of advice Chris Lehman gave us was to get on Twitter. “It’s one of the best ways to stay connected to writers and an excellent professional development tool!” he told us. Though I didn’t instantly sign up for a Twitter account (truth be told all the hash tags overwhelm me), his advice stayed with me.
In an effort to start this new year by finding new ways to stay informed and gain more knowledge as a teacher, I recently signed up for a Twitter account and discovered that Lehman was right! I came across the pages of many great mentor authors I usually work with in the classroom- Jon Scieszka, Ralph Fletcher, Sharon Creech. On top of that, I’ve come across the mentors I normally depend on to help me personally as I strive to be a better teacher of writing- Ruth Ayers, Stacey Shubitz, Jim Burke, Chris Lehman, Kelly Gallagher, Penny Kittle. The list goes on and on!!! Every day I look forward to reading about what is on the minds of these great people, these great mentors. I love to read the articles they share and learn more about the projects they work on. For example, thanks to Twitter, I learned that Ralph Fletcher has created a new blog that focuses on his life as a writer. I immediately added his link to my blog roll and began waiting patiently for the first post, on the edge of my seat and ready to embrace any words of wisdom I could take in and later share with my students on ways to become better at writing together.