Teachers are working harder than ever. They’re doing more–with less–again. Many times, it feels like these circumstances are out of our control.

Here’s something we can control.

We can control how we’re helping each other as fellow educators in a challenging profession. We can control how we share resources. We can control efficiency.

Here are a few questions every educator could be asking:

When planning learning experiences, where am I getting my ideas and resources? Why? Is there a better way? How can teachers adapt their approach to make life easier? How can we connect our individual learners to a variety of content in meaningful, efficient manners?

How can we work together to help each other help kids?

Of course, educators are free to acquire resources in ways that work best for them, and from affordable sources that best differentiate for their learners’ needs. If your district has guideline-specific resources, how are you supplementing them? There are no rules here–only suggestions and reflections.

Who hasn’t googled content for background knowledge and learning experience ideas? Who hasn’t explored Pinterest for more than infographics and crafting parties? And let me applaud fellow educators who have made money by making Teachers-Pay-Teachers work for them. I’ve tried, but I couldn’t come to a place where I felt the quality of my posts was high enough while still staying inside all those copyright guidelines. Yet. I’ve invested hundreds of hours creating over the years. I have so much to sell… or share.

Let’s Face It

Resources found on many platforms can be misleading, adding even more challenges in a fake news era. My exploration over the past two decades has revealed that many of these resources:

  • Don’t actually align with the standard(s) as labeled;
  • Tempt me to cut off the author’s name before mass-copying;
  • Tempt me to accept lower quality to avoid watermarks;
  • Can’t be differentiated for my community of learners;
  • Are cute, but aren’t meeting expectations of rigor;
  • Are mostly worksheets, packets, and tests;
  • Don’t always adhere to digital citizenship;
  • Aren’t always original, despite claims; and
  • Aren’t always free–especially the good ones.

Are there better ways? Let’s work together!

I created these two FREE platforms. I’m super passionate about them. Here’s why:

#Hashtag180

  • What: It’s a hashtagging system! Can you imagine creating a huge library of FREE resources on social media searchable by hashtagged standards? Could you imagine creating the new Dewey Hashtag System together?
  • How: Whenever you (or learners of all ages) create, facilitate, or discover a resource that can help learners or supplement learning, hashtag it with the specific standard, and post it on social media. Do this at least once a day (on a 180-day school calendar, for example).
  • Why:
    • The one posting has to double-check the exact standard every time, or until they’re memorized. Download the standards to your phone.
    • The more you post, the more familiar you are with exactly what’s being learned. You’re able to better communicate learning expectations, outcomes, and successes.
    • You’re modeling learning.
    • You’re telling your story to the world.
    • You’re branding your school’s learning journey.
    • You’re building an intimate community of learners in your own school, district, state, or nation that is doing the exact same thing you are! This invites specific, close, and interactive connections to make the teaching and learning journey even more efficient and effective. 
    • You can see inside each other’s learning spaces without leaving your own!
    • You can post images, videos, and links–waaay better than worksheets.
  • Resources:

#GridSciNC

  • What: Birthed from #GridCulum, #GridSciNC is a free video platform on Flipgrid! Starting simple, I’m inviting all North Carolina elementary science educators to populate this grid by posting resources in standard-specific topics. There are 89 elementary NC Science Essential Standards. If just one teacher in every county posted one resource, we’d have 100, for starters.
  • How: During a learning experience, record a video in a #GridSciNC, standard-specific topic to share your strategies, tips, and what’s working in your classroom. You can also add resource links in a google doc, for example, and link the google doc in your Flipgrid post. Later, you may want to download your Flipgrid activities and link them in a Google Sites portfolio.
  • Why: Same reasons as to Why #Hashtag180 (above), especially:
    • You’re building an intimate community of learners in your state that is doing the exact same thing you are! This invites specific, close, and interactive connections to make the teaching and learning journey even more efficient and effective. 
    • You can see inside each other’s learning spaces without leaving your own!
    • You can post videos and links–waaay better than worksheets.
  • Resources: Forthcoming… We’re just getting started! What if every district and state department were creating platforms like these for teachers?

These are just two examples. What are your ideas? As always, I’d love your feedback.

Blogger’s Note: I added this Leader Of Learning podcast #Hashtag180–#GridSciNC conversation with Dan Kreiness on October 20, 2018.