I have used social media for teaching ideas for a long time. At the beginning of my career I was focused on making everything Pinterest or Instagram perfect, forgetting that those were stills from half a second in the life of a classroom. I thought I needed to have the classroom that looked like the ideas I found on Pinterest or the attention getters in the Instagram videos with out being true to myself. Over the last couple years I have been focused on keeping things simple, building relationships and being the person my students are excited to see not the model on social media. I will never be a social media influencer and my classroom does not always look like it, my room is lived in, it is a home for my students and I. The walls show case our learning and our books are mixed up in the library because students are looking through them and reading them. Our room is tidy and organized but it is not Pinterest perfect, the items in the room are things my students use. Anything on open shelves is for student use, except for the 2 shelves directly behind the rainbow table, with my daybook, small group materials and days of the week bins. Right now I am taking a break from teacher Instagram and Tick Tock and focusing on my students, the other teachers on social media don’t know my kids. My kids need me the teacher in the room with them, who knows them and can tell you about their pets, sports teams, gardens and lyrical solos more than the latest social media trend. The trends may be fun and short lived but the teacher that knows you, you remember forever. I still remember my grade 4 teacher putting interesting rocks on my desk for me to examine, she didn’t need social media to do that, just her teacher senses. One thing I also worry about is how much judgement and shaming can happen between teachers on social media if we disagree, however until you have been in that person’s class, their school, their community you don’t know. I also feel like teacher social media sets us up to be very hard on ourselves, compare ourselves to others. My preferred source of ideas on social media is Pinterest because there is no comment section. Our kids need us to be authentic and ourselves not to perpetuate that latest social media craze.
I have found two groups on Facebook to be very supportive in my journey through my post graduate certificate in Math Education and have linked to them below.
Building Thinking Classrooms Facebook Group
This group is full of teachers at all levels who are implementing Building Thinking Classrooms. In this group we can share activities and strategies for engaging our students as well as talk through challenges we may be having with this unique approach to teaching math. Through this group I have even been able to participate in webinars with Peter Liljedahl the author of the book for free and ask questions during his Facebook live events. If you are interested in implementing Building Thinking Classrooms this is something I would highly recommend, especially if like me you’re the only person at your school doing it.
Build Math Minds Facebook Group
This group has been a great tool for finding activities and sharing ideas for number sense and number talk activities. There is more of an American presence in this group and the topic of pre made curriculums does come up a few times a week. The activities shared are great so is the discussion about how to help students understand specific concepts, as this is a k-12 group you get a lot of different perspectives.