Months ago, a good friend named Jen Hasler-Troutman asked me to whip up a list of folks that I think all new teachers should follow — either in Twitter or on their blogs. She’s a mentor this year and wanted to give her mentees a starting point for swimming in the digital soup. I FINALLY got a few spare minutes to put that list together for Jen and thought you might like seeing it, too.
Five Thinkers Every New Teacher Should Follow:
John Spencer (Twitter, Blog): After spending eleven years as a middle school teacher, John has just moved into a position as a professor of instructional technology. What I love about John’s writing and thinking is that (1). it is incredibly practical, full of ideas that I’m ready to try the minute that I read them and (2). it challenges my thinking around what classrooms could/should be. John also writes more generally about creativity and living in a connected world. That writing forces me to wrestle with bigger ideas and trends beyond the classroom — and I appreciate that.
Pernille Ripp (Twitter, Blog): After spending the majority of her career teaching elementary school, Pernille is in the middle of her second year as a seventh grade language arts teacher. Her blog is also incredibly practical and full of ideas that I often take “as-is” and use in my own work with students. She’s grown a reputation as an expert on classroom blogging, but I find her to be just as skilled at sharing ideas about reading and writing instruction — as well as an expert at strategies for structuring healthy classroom environments where students are empowered.
Richard Byrne (Twitter, Blog): The plain and simple truth is that technology is going to play a seminal role in the work that teachers new to our profession are going to do over the course of their careers. No blogger introduces me to more new technologies than Richard Byrne. The short, tool-centric bits on his Free Tech for Teachers site spotlight new services worth exploring OR new applications for existing tools that I’d never considered. He’s a amazing curator of #edtech content — and that curation saves me time.
MiddleWeb (Twitter, Website): While it is specifically designed to support teachers in grades 4-8, I think MiddleWeb is a FANTASTIC resource for every teacher who is new to the classroom. In fact, over the years, they’ve developed an incredible collection that they call New Teacher 911 designed to point rookies to resources that they can use to tackle all of the common challenges that trip us up early in our careers.
Mindshift KQED (Twitter, Website): Finally, I think it is essential for new teachers to question the fundamentals of our profession. Doing so depends on constantly reflecting on cutting edge ideas. That’s the kind of content that Mindshift — a blog maintained by a Bay Area public television network — produces regularly. On any given day, you’ll find bits challenging grading practices or spotlighting practitioners who are reimagining learning one lesson at a time. It’s good stuff that will resonate with any teacher who knows that our schools need to change in order to better serve modern learners.
What thinkers would YOU recommend that new teachers follow? Drop your suggestions in the comment section and let’s see what kind of list we can come up with together!
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