Sunday, February 1, 2015

Building Your Own PLC

Buzzword: PLC.  Hmm... This term "Professional Learning Community" sounds, to be quite frank, like cloud nine. A place where everyone is a professional while supporting and learning from each other at all times to better education for students. This "community..." do you ride unicorns around, slide down rainbows, and eat french fries with no calories? Sounds too good to be true - yes, this I know. The reality of it is, not everywhere will have a climate and culture conducive for building a highly effective PLC - so today we talk about the DIY PLC. How can YOU build your own?

My grad school text book talks about Professional Learning Communities, and how positive they can be, when formed in the correct conditions. There is a lot of technical information out there, but to simplify it, take a look at this graphic.

Okay if you don't happen to work in Community Consolidated District Could 9 - there are a couple simple places that are FULL of educators looking to teach, collaborate, exchange, learn, and most of all SHARE.

Two social media platforms that our students use all the time are actually the perfect place to build your own PLC.
The beautiful thing about both of these is introverts can be on the sidelines and just scroll through to soak up ideas, and all my extroverts out there can do the same plus share their ideas as well. There is something for everyone. You might be thinking to yourself - "Okay great, but I get tons of ideas from Pinterest already and why would I go through the trouble of getting an Instagram or Twitter account?!" Yes who doesn't LOVE Pinterest? Guilty, guilty, guilty five times over, but the beauty in these other platforms is the communication between educators. You can get INSTANT feedback from other professionals anywhere in the world. If you are facing a challenge, there is always someone there to comment and give you another point of view. You are COLLABORATING, EXCHANGING, AND LEARNING, all online through social media... from other professionals near and far. AH-MA-ZING. 

Not convinced yet?

1. Posts are simple and to the point (unlike the sometimes lengthy reading of blogs :))
2. You can search using specific hashtags (#iteach6th, #teachersfollowteachers, #edchat)
3. You can screen shot your ideas - so they are sitting in your phone's camera roll when ready to use!
4. Meeting other teachers who are just at positive and passionate as you are. (My favorite, BY FAR!)
5. You are in control. No requirements at ALL. If you are stressed and can't plan anymore, leave it alone - in need of new ideas or feedback, post and scroll away!

I am definitely more of an Instagrammer (I think I just made that a word...) mainly because I love the pictures. Both are wonderful resources depending on what you are looking for.

I can't even express the positive impact starting these accounts has had on my professional life. It has been so fulfilling meeting people through these platforms who share my passion and are so encouraging. I have been lucky enough to meet some of them in person as well and it has been crazily fulfilling. All it takes is a username and password, give it a go. I promise you won't regret it!

Also wanted to share another game changing discovery I recently made. Essie came out with a cashmere matte collection. Two coats of heaven right here.
Now go get your hashtag on!