I discovered as an adult that I love reading. I was not the kind of kid who always had a book in my hand, like my 5th grader who will one day fall down the stairs because he refuses to take his eyes off of the page. Suddenly, after college, I was no longer being told what and how much to read. I realized that reading is enjoyable, informative, and brings people together. I’ve been active in the same book group for 9 years. We read, discuss, ask questions, challenge opinions in the best possible way, and being part of this group has led me to read books I never would have chosen on my own. While the focus is on reading, we’ve been through a lot and this group provides unlimited support to one another. They are like sisters to me. Right now we are reading Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie, which I am loving!
As a teacher, I often found educational materials to be dry and somewhat tedious. However, this past December I became involved as a co-moderator of a Twitter chat called. #TBookC. If you are an educator and are not on Twitter, stop reading this blog post and open a new tab on your browser to create an account right this minute. After doing that you can follow me, @LisaBerghoff. If you are an educator on Twitter and have not participated in a Twitter chat, consider this your official invitation to join #TBookC. Also, you can follow me:) You won’t regret it.
#TbookC is the Teacher/Twitter book club. It is the brainchild of the incredible Lindsey Lipsky @lindseylipsky and also co-moderated by the outstanding Lisa Friedman @JewishSpecialEd and I am so honored to co-moderate this chat with them. The process of planning and moderating this chat will definitely be the subject of another post because it is collaboration at its finest.
Each month, anyone who is interested can vote on our next book to read. If you have a book suggestion, you can add it here.
The chats attract teachers and administrators from a wide variety of backgrounds and schools. There is a solid group of participants who join in for each chat and that group seems to be growing. We do 3 consecutive chats and then take a week or two off so we can have time to read the books. The chat takes place on Thursdays at 8:00 pm CT. We have two chats left for Connected Educators. After that, we’ll vote on our May book. In addition to sharing our thoughts on what we have read, the chats provide an opportunity for sharing ideas, offering encouragement, and stretching our thinking regarding our role with students and teachers. We have also had the actual authors join in on our discussions which is an incredible experience. @daveburgess, @toddwhitaker, @Jeff_Zoul, and @Casas_Jimmy have all participated as we have discussed their books on Twitter.
There is something very special about this chat. There is an actual community that has been created and as a result it is unbelievably welcoming and caring. During our March chat, Kimberlie McDonald @littlemacf650 mentioned how much she would love to read Wonder with her 6th graders but she only had one copy. She was asked how many she needed and in the matter of about 30 seconds, members of the chat had offered to purchase and send the books to her school. A few days later, she tweeted out pictures of her happy students with their new books. Amazing right? All of that talk about technology making us more isolated, less connected, less in touch with each other? Hmmmmm, I don’t think so!
Reading can be a powerful escape but it can also be a way to bring people together. I have been fortunate to have a group that I meet with in person and a group that I meet with online. Both are extremely fulfilling in their own way and just add to my incredible list of supports and connections in my life.
I hope to “see” you all on #TBookC this week or sometime soon.
* A very special thank-you to Chris Crouch @TheExplicator for leading the charge in the #AprilBlogADay challenge and for providing interesting, thought provoking prompts!