Thursday, December 26, 2013

Part Five: Twitter for Educators...Organizing Your Tweets

This is the Fifth post in the twitter series...Twitter for Educators: The Only Guide You Will Need. Please see the end of this post for the series' links.

Last time we talked about adding hashtags to make your tweets easier to find. You search for a hashtag(#) in the twitter search feature, as identified by the magnifying glass. 

You can find a number of posts related to that hashtag. For example #oilers:

This is a great browsing feature but it becomes time consuming to check all your hashtags this way. There is actually another way to view and save hashtags. I use Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a third party application that can used to organize your hashtags into their own columns or as Hootsuite refers to them as streams. 

Here is a screenshot of  three of my streams on my ipad.

The Benefits of Streams

1. Streams make it easier to participate in "chats". (I will blog about this next)
2. Streams function as curator for likeminded conversations. Grouping conversations by hashtags into streams gives you a chance to see the big picture of what people are talking about over time.
3. Streams help to keep you informed about what is going on in your city. I set up streams to follow the city I am in #yeg, the traffic in my city #yegtraffic and what is going on in my school district #ecsd.
4. Streams add to your professional development. I have set up streams to follow conferences that I am attending  #ira2013 and not attending #ira2014. 
4. I set up streams that are aligned with my interests such as #writing or #nanowrimo.

Here is a helpful video to get you started.

Other Posts in the Series
Part 1: Getting Started With Twitter
Part 2: Responding To Your Twitter Feed
Part 3: Composing a Tweet
Part 4: Using Hashtags

Until Next Time,
Lit Maven Out!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Stop the Presses! You Can't Make a Living Writing!...Katy Perry Disagrees

The Lit Maven has been learning up a storm! But better than that, she has been earning her Great Work MBA.

The most amazing online conference ever! Hosted by Michael Bungay-Stanier, it is for anyone who wants to do Great Work.

What is great work?

I am encouraged that I am approaching the great work of my life. Recently I heard back about an article I submitted.

I am a contender!

I will let you know how that pans out in January.

I have proof I am approaching Great Work! I announced to a colleague about my plans to pursue writing as a serious possibility.

This was the face I got.
and the response:

(Note: All writers in the world are's not about the money!)

Was the Lit Maven crushed? 


Lit Maven ...seriously?

No! I am serious. Instead, I was thinking yes!  I must be on the right path for me. 

My friend doesn't get it. 

But her response to me, made me want to try even harder. Why? Because my journey is towards Great Work, and writing is a huge part of that.

Jonathan Acuff addresses family and friends in his book Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters 

"How can we carry dreams in our heart for years, maybe even decades, and then expect our friends and family members to understand them perfectly? They won't. Don't be surprised by that. Don't be devastated by that. Don't think it's because you've failed to explain it the right way. There's going to be some degree of disconnect. It's your dream, not theirs. Give them the gift of patience. Give them time to understand your dream." (p. 181)

Until then, consider signing up for your Great Work MBA.

Katy Perry?  Lit Maven?

Oh yes...My new theme song of course.

I am ready to 'bout you?

Until Next Time,
Lit Maven Out!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Part Four: Twitter for Educators...The Only Guide You'll Need

So the last three parts, you have signed up on Twitter, found some people to follow, replied, retweeted and perhaps composed a message or two.

Today we are going to learn about hashtags.

Egads...I have been wondering about those. Well, it's your lucky day.
  • Hashtags are comprised of a pound sign (#) followed by some words, letters and/or numbers.
  • Hashtags make ideas/topics/conversations easier to find.
  • Hashtags are a special type of tag.
So How Does This Work?

Let's look at an example. Here is the tweet from last post.

Hey! What is up with the Oilers? Are they still rebuilding?

Here it is with the hashtag.

Hey! What is up with the #Oilers? Are they still rebuilding?

Now this tweet is more searchable for other users on Twitter.

Fun Facts about Hashtags
  • There is no limit to the amount of hashtags in a tweet other than the 140 character limit.
  • Major cities often use airport codes to identify themselves. Edmonton's airport code is Yeg so the hashtag for Edmonton is #Yeg. 
  • Here is fun list of all the NHL team hashtags and Twitter accounts.
Let's add #Yeg to our tweet.

Hey! What is up with the #Yeg #Oilers? Are they still rebuilding?

On your twitter home page you find a section on the lower left side labeled "Trends" There will be a list of hastags that are currently trending. If you select one, a list of tweets will pop up. You might find some interesting information or some new people to follow.

Next post...we will look at organizing our Tweets. 

Twitter Series
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Until Next Time,

Lit Maven Out!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Part Three: Twitter for Educators...The Only Guide You'll Need

In the last few posts, you have signed up on Twitter and you have found some followers.

If you have been extra wonderful, you have also tried to reply or retweet.

Now you are ready for the next adventure...composing your own TWEETS!

How to Compose Tweets Even John Tesh Would Love

1.  There is one rule:

A tweet can only be 140 characters or less. It includes letters, numbers, symbols, spaces, weblinks and elipses...I love elipses...

2Things to tweet about.
a) profession related
b) hobby related
c) life related

You do need to consider your followers and their interests otherwise write your tweets in a diary.

3.  Basic Tweet - Just Words

Hey! What is up with the Oilers? Are they still rebuilding?

Note: This tweet is straight up fancy smancy.

4. Adding a Link to a Tweet

The process can be as simple as...writing a tweet and copying and pasting a link on the end...but often the link is too long. See below.

Hey! What is up with the Oilers? Are they still rebuilding?

You need to get a URL shortener to fix this.

         1. Go to
         2. Paste your link into the shortener.
         3. Copy the shortened URL and  add it to your tweet....

Here is the new Tweet.

Hey! What is up with the Oilers? Are they still rebuilding?

Yay success!

I think that is plenty for today! Have fun adding links. Let me know if this is helping you.

Next post we will be getting into HASHTAGS...

Twitter Series
Part One
Part Two

Until Next Time,

Lit Maven Out!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Part Two: Twitter for Educators...The Only Guide You'll Need

Last post we signed up and and found some friends.

Now...what to say?

I thought about this a lot last night and I think before you can understand what to say, it is important to understand how to work with what other people have already said.

Twitter is about engaging with others and not just tweeting about yourself.


1. Understanding your home feed.
1. Your home feed, as you view it on is the conversation of all your followers. This is like having all your friends talking at once, in one long stream of disjointed conversation.

It looks like this

2. Reply

If you think that something is interesting. Click on the tweet messsage. The tweet will enlarge. You will see a series of symbols.

The first symbol is the reply button.

When pressed you will get a reply box with the address of the person who sent the message. For example if you hit reply to the message about Kellogg's Tweet shop (above) you would see this:


Following the tweet address you can fill in a response or comment.

@FastCoCreate I wish I could use social currency to buy groceries.

...or something more interesting.

Then press send. The message is sent back to the person who tweeted it and it is also viewed by of your followers.

3. Retweet
If you see a message in your feed that you think your followers (friends)  would like to read press "retweet".  The second symbol is the retweet button.
When you press retweet the entire message appears in the status box with a RT (retweet) in front of the message.

Using the above "Kellogg's" tweet as an example it would look like this:

RT @FastCoCreate Kellogg's Tweet Shop Let's You Pay for Food with Social Currency CSZoh

The "RT" gives credit to the person who composed the original message. It is like saying...

 "Hey everyone...guess what so and so's brilliant. Listen up. Pay attention. He/she has the goods."

After you press "send" the RT message is sent to all of your followers.

4. Favorite
Sometimes you just love a tweet so much that you need to keep it for later. This is when you select the symbol:
 When you press the favorite symbol, the tweet is saved for later, to find under your twitter profile...under favorites. When you "favorite" a tweet, the person who sent the tweet is notified that you "favorite-ed" it. (Is that even a word?)
I think this is plenty for today. Next post I would like to continue the conversation about composing your own messages to impress even John Tesh...etc.
Until Next Time,
Lit Maven Out!
Twitter Series

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Part One: Twitter for Educators...The Only Guide You Will Need

I work with many teachers.
They love Pinterest.
Twitter... not so much.

It got me to thinking how I could explain Twitter so that they would try it.

So here is what I came up with...when in doubt go the pop culture route! (pronounced "Rowt" in an effort to be clever and whimsical.)

SCROLL down to getting started with Twitter if you are anxious and on a timecrunch.

But for those who want the full are the differences between Pinterest and Twitter...

There is a difference in effort.

Pinterest is like sitting in hot tub. (relaxing)

Twitter is like lane swimming in a pool. (invigorating with some effort)

And they look different...

Pinterest is all about the pictures.

Twitter is all about words.

And they are for different things.

Pinterest is all about Show and Tell.

Twitter is all about conversation and building a professional learning network.

It's not to say that they don't overlap. They do. But I think you do need both.


Getting Started with Twitter

1. Sign Up at

Think of your username as your namecard. Who are you?

  • Use your real name. Why? Because it's professional and because @Tootie or @Macgyver are from the 80's and you don't want to date yourself.
  • If your name is taken, add a middle initial, or two.

RECAP... you are now in a giant "cyber" room, with your name tag on, standing around self consciously like you are at a high school dance. 

You need to find some friends...

2. Find some friends.

  • Old school ....In the search feature  (see below) look up real friends.  The ones you have met in ...the REAL world. GASP!
  • New school...Check out the "who to follow" section (bottom left of picture below).  Twitter suggests friends for you. 

    For both old school and new school discoveries follow these steps to add them to your list.

            1. Check out their profile first.
            Click on the person's name (in bold).
      A profile will enlarge.

      Are their profiles interesting?
      Would you invite these people to dinner? ...or have a conversation with behind a locked screened door?

      NOTE: Relax. This isn't lifematch or e-harmony. These are not forever friends. This is not to say that some might become really good friends in time but you can always unfollow them. There is no limit to who you follow. Eventually you will have a whole assortment of followers
                  2.  Press the follow button.

    After you press "Follow" the usernames are added to your followers list. 

RECAP...You are now in a giant "cyber" room, with a name tag on, with a small group of friends, wondering what to say...

Next Post:
Tweet Language!  Composing a Tweet that would even impress John Tesh!

Until Next Time,
Lit Maven Out!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Phil Collins Can't Dance and Neither Can the Lit Maven


It's true...the Lit Maven can't dance...

This I can do...

This I can not... is my EDUCATIONAL point...

Oh? You have one Lit Maven....


In yoga...we have something called Child's Pose. This is a pose that you can go into if you feel overwhelmed and to restore breathing or even your mind.

Well...I think we need a "Child's Pose" for learning in schools. When a student struggles are they allowed to "regroup" and go into a pose?  I would think may times they end up asking to go to the bathroom or sharpen a pencil.

I was faced with a dance activity at work. The Lit Maven was asked to learn "Gumboot Dancing" in 10 minutes!

Oh my goodness Lit Maven!!!

I know...right!

I almost died a slow death. The Lit Maven does not dance....or slap legs in rhythm...or anything sychronized.  Especially that fast!  I guess the activity was fast paced...cause adults learn fast...nope...not in this case...not this one.

Needless to say...I left to get migraine pills and never returned.

Had I had an optional pose or ever a slower-scaffolded learning sequence I might have stayed.

Needless to say...adults are people too, students are definitely people please let your students in on all the variations to learning and how they can be together with the group, either with more support, slower pace or even a child's pose if necessary.

Cause Phil Collin's can't dance...and no one said he had too! This comforts the Lit Maven greatly :)

Until Next Time,
Lit Maven Out!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Nonfiction...Paul Rudd says yes...kind of....

Sometimes it is hard to put in the effort!

It's that time of year when you start thinking about September...

"Next year I will...."

But the Lit Maven is not going to do that.


I am pursuing my Nonfiction territory animal control agent...with vigilance!

Here are some fantastic Nonfiction sites to inspire you!

1. I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids)
"Here we will meet the writers whose words are presenting nonfiction in a whole new way. Discover books that show how nonfiction writers are some of the best storytellers around."

2. Awesome Stories
"AwesomeStories chooses age-old stories, current events, and 21st century media; researches context and presents organized relevant primary sources to fuel lessons supporting teachers in engaging students in active learning, developing critical thinking skills, and constructing knowledge"
Check out 42 - Jackie Robinson

3. Wonderopolis
"Learning is happening everywhere, all the time! We have bottled a little bit of that learning in each Wonder of the Day®. Experience a daily dose of time with your child to make the most of each and every moment together — learn something new, try out an idea, create a masterpiece, imagine possibilities. It’s easy. It’s fun. But the learning is big!"

See...aren't you excited!!!

I know....right!


Until Next Time,

The Lit Maven

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Stars at Night...Bieber, Pigeons and Fletcher.. a Recap of IRA 2013

Thanks Texas!

The Lit Maven had a great time.

Here are some highlights from the International Reading Association Conference.

1. Session 11-12, April 21, 2013: Not Just the Books They Read, But Lives They Lead: Rethink Close Reading as More Than Just Analyzing Words and See it as a Student's Tool For Leading a More Engaged Life

So...they had us do a  Close reading of  "Boyfriend" by Justin Bieber.

Lit Maven....seriously!!!!

True story!  Kate Roberts and Chris Lehman presented a structure for close reading.  To further entrench the strategy...we close read the lyrics to....


Of course I appologized to the Wisconsin teacher next to me ..."I am sorry...for that {Bieber} oh and Celine Dion too."

2. Presenting! 
I presented on Getting to the "Core" Using Mentor Texts and Authentic Experiences Persuasive Writing

Pigeon Books! Yes!

We pigeon-ed like it was no ones business.  If interested...check out my handout! The powerpoint should be posted shortly. The crowd was amazing! Ready and eager to share their writing talents and laugh all at the same time!

My first experience presenting internationally was truly amazing!

3.  Ralph Fletcher!
He presented on Boy Writers.  He left us laughing and rethinking the way we approach boys and all writers in the classroom.  Here are the key ideas he left with us.

How to Engage Boy Writers!
  • widen the circle
  • give them real choice (choice and voice)
  • build on strengths
  • look for humor
  • take the long view (creating life long writers)
  • enjoy their writing!
Here is a link to his teacher beliefs!

So...I do have more to say...but hey the Stars at Night....

Until Next Time,
Lit Maven Out!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

LiveBinders...Val Kilmer says Yes!

Sometimes you just need to ask why?

I like Monkeys in coats.

But Monkeys and singers.....what's that about? Ahem...Bieber?

Bubbles and Michael

Not a genius a genius move....

But what is a genius move?

This LiveBinder is....Check out the Genius Hour!

"Genius Hour is a precious time, loved by all my students. It is when they are allowed to develop their own inquiry question about whatever it is that they want to explore. They are then given about 3 one hour Genius Hour sessions and then they are usually ready to present their learning to the class." - Gallit Zvi

This intrigued me!  What brilliance! Can you imagine the Lit Maven off exploring...

It would probably look something like this...

Not surprised Lit Maven!

So many decisions...where does one begin?

Well, in addition to the LiveBinder I also found a Stan Wit Wiki about it too!

Lit Maven...that does not make sense! 

I beg to differ...I can create word-foolery like no one's business.

Val Kilmer?...Lit Maven?

Ah..yes..Val....a REAL GENIUS!


Yep! Check it out!

Until Next time,
Lit Maven out!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Yoda Fist Pumps Jesus Jones...What We Can Learn from Star Wars Identities

Recently I attended Identities, the Star Wars exhibit.

It was for a better word...the coolest thing ever!

Not a surprise...Lit Maven....

I know...but the thing is...I felt ultra cool with the communication device in my ear. I thought..."I can rock this like no one's business."

If you are not familiar with the exhibit, the communication device that they lend you, picks up audio from the various video displays.  It goes around one ear and has a dial for sound and language selection. It only picks up the audio if you are within range of a monitor.

So you can hop in and out of range. The rest of the exhibit is relatively quiet. 

Just like this scene from Ace Ventura Pet Detective...

Can you imagine this in a school?

Jim Carrey?

No...communication devices....

  • Kids listening to information, in 3-4 minute chunks.
  • Kids choosing the language they listen to.
  • Kids choosing the level of sound.
  • Kids choosing the order of information.
  • Kids mixing, in all ages, to process the information.
Hmmm....I think it is something to ponder...

Lit Maven?...Yoda?...Jesus Jones?... Yoda  is all about..."Do or do not...there is no try."

So I was thinking..."Yoda lives in the now!"

Uh huh...ok Lit Maven....

Who else is all into the now stuff?

Jesus Jones?

Yes....and although this song is really speaks to me.
Right here, right now...there is no time in education that I would rather be.


Until Next Time,

Lit Maven Out!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

FLASH! FLASH! FLASH!...There's an APP! YA! YA!

You've been ipad-ing away...when all of a sudden...


First you think.... What?...I need Dawson's dad....

What...Lit Maven?


Well...maybe not THAT Flash...but either way you are disappointed.


There is a solution named ROVER!

ROVER allows you to access educational sites that run on flash. 

Use it like a browser and ROVER does all the Flash-Battling for you!

A great alternative to throwing your ipad in the air and screaming like a goat.

Good point Lit Maven!

I know...right!

Now here is a little Mick sing along FLASH!! FLASH! FLASH!!..There's an APP! YA! YA!

Until Next Time,
Lit Maven Out!

The Secret to Getting Things Done

I came across this phrase yesterday..."half the battle". Here are some definitions of Half the Battle. 1. to be the most ...