Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Reach out!

Who would have thought some friendly banter would lead to a respectful, collegial friendship?

A few months ago, I was involved in a Twitter chat during a playoff game between the MN Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Friendly "banter" was exchanged via tweets between a teacher/Blackhawk fan and myself (a Minnesotan & Wild fan by default).

That Blackhawk fan was Greg Armamentos, or @dashthebook.

I believe the Blackhawks won that game, and they went on to play in the semi-final game.
However, that's not what matters.

I discovered that Greg had recently published a book, so I looked it up on Amazon and placed my order.  He started writing it with his students, which is awesome. Also, he self-published (like Dave Burgess), which I admired. It arrived a few days later, and I quickly read it from cover to cover.

It was an incredible story-one that I shared with a few students before the end of the school year. Greg has since sent a signed copy of his book to my school (so I can keep that one and put the other in my classroom library). Thanks to Greg's generosity, my new students can look forward to a Skype visit from Greg (the author) this fall.

The story doesn't end there.

As the school year wound down, another Twitter teacher Ben Kuhlman (@bkuhl2you) issued a challenge called #10summerblogs. Greg jumped in (although he and Ben already had blogs), which encouraged me to give it a try. I had wanted to blog for a while, but this was the push I needed to get started.

Greg was the inspiration for one of my posts about validation (needing our backs scratched). He reminded me that we all (students and teachers) have something worthwhile to say. I was encouraged to share my unique voice with the larger Twitter community.

Every time I publish a new post, Greg is there with kind words and support. He does this with all #10summerblogs participants, as well as authors of books he adores.

Thanks to him, I have read more blogs from wonderful Twitter teachers, and I have enjoyed new books like Circa Now and Dash. I even braved my first time moderating a twitter chat (#5thchat) with an author I admire- Erik Palmer. It was a phenomenal experience!

During a recent Twins game against the White Sox, our friendly rivalry was ignited again. This time it was the MN team (Twins) who won that series, despite currently trailing the Sox in our division.

Although this seems like a tribute to Greg (and he's humble enough not to need it), it's really a post about how you never know what can happen when you reach out on Twitter. When you connect with other educators who share a similar passion. Even when you give them a hard time about their sports team.

Who knew that some friendly banter about the Wild and Blackhawks would lead to a Twitter friendship that inspires and supports me as an educator?

Make sure to reach out and connect. You never know the great people you'll meet.


  1. I completely agree. Once you just give it a try (reaching out to ask a question, reply to someone's comment, participate in a chat), you'll realize that great people are out there just on the other side of your computer screen! :) It's opened up a whole new world.

  2. Thank you for the comments - I have been equally blessed with all kind of inspirations and insights by you and the rest of the PLN being assembled on Twitter. Now if the Sox can just beat the Twins...

  3. A friend I've had since middle school just came to visit me from California. She is an experienced kinder teacher who will now be teaching first grade for the first time. She had never explored Twitter, so I spent an afternoon getting her set up with an account and helping her find some hashtags to check out and folks to follow. I'm excited for the first grade support she will find and for the growth that is ahead for her!

    I'm impressed that you have moderated a chat already. Very cool!

  4. Brilliantly said! Through the power of Twitter, I feel more connected, have more confidence, and I'm constantly finding new ideas to try. Reaching out is important! (And Greg is pretty awesome. He has been inspiring to me as well . . . positivity matters!)

  5. Oh -- to add -- it's also taught me the power in responding to the ideas of others. Often I'm reading on my phone, and I think, "Oh, I'll say that later when I have a keyboard." Nope. Validation matters!