Late last school year, I jumped feet first into a project called #hashtag180.
First proposed by Kyle Hamstra, #hashtag180 encourages teachers to grab and share images and video of either the work they are doing in their classrooms or the real world application of content that they are expected to teach. The key, however, is to then add a hashtag representing the specific curriculum standard that the content being shared represents.
Here’s a sample:
— Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) November 21, 2017
Do you see the #sci6p31 hashtag at the end of the message?
THAT’s what makes #hashtag180 work different from the sharing we have always done in social spaces. It represents the specific curriculum objective that my Tweet was designed to teach — and by adding it, I’ve made this content searchable by standard.
That means when I’m teaching this same content next year, I can easily find the strategies that I used to engage my kids. Just as importantly, that means OTHER TEACHERS who are teaching the same content can easily find the strategies that I’m using to engage my kids.
So why should other teachers consider hashtagging their curriculum?
Here’s three reasons:
You will learn your curriculum inside out: If you are anything like me, you probably don’t spend a ton of time in your standards documents. You know what units you are expected to teach. You have a good sense for what topics need to be addressed in those units. And if you’ve been at it for a while, you even know the activities that you use to teach each of those topics.
But here’s the thing: If you aren’t regularly reviewing your curriculum, you may be making a whole ton of faulty assumptions about just what it is that your kids are expected to know and be able to do.
Just because you’ve taught a unit or a topic for years doesn’t mean that unit or topic is an essential part of the required curriculum for the kids in your care.
When you start hashtagging your curriculum, however, you are automatically forced to revisit your curriculum documents to ensure that you are adding the right tag to the messages that you are sharing. That constant revisiting means you will always be fully aware of whether or not the content you are teaching is actually in your curriculum — and that’s a really good thing.
You can build a digital portfolio detailing your mastery of your content area: Regardless of the state, province or country that you work in, there’s a good chance that your teacher evaluation protocols require you to demonstrate a deep and meaningful understanding of the content that you teach. You are also probably expected to have a strong sense of content specific pedagogy — or the best ways to teach the concepts in your curriculum to your students.
Every time that you hashtag your curriculum, you are creating evidence — sorted by standard — of just what YOU know and can do with your curriculum.
Imagine walking into your next teacher evaluation meeting with your supervisor or your next interview with a new school and being able to quickly search for specific examples of your teaching strategies by each individual standard in your required curriculum.
Or imagine how impressive you would be if you created a digital portfolio like mine that included every #hashtag180 post you’ve ever made — and they were all sorted by the standards you are required to teach.
Talk about an impressive professional behavior, right?
You can begin sharing engaging academic content to your school’s social media profiles: Go take a look at your school’s Facebook page or Twitterstream. Now, check out what pops up when you use your school’s dedicated hashtag.
If your school is anything like most schools, there are probably a TON of calendar updates and/or generic celebrations. Your band guy has probably posted a picture of his jazz ensemble at a competition. Your athletic director has probably posted the final score of the most recent basketball game. Your principal has probably posted a picture of a smiling kid walking in from carpool.
But can you find anything that is directly and explicitly tied to the way that teachers are delivering the required curriculum?
That’s interesting, isn’t it?
And that’s one of the reasons that I share every one of my #hashtag180 posts to our schools #salemproud stream. The way that I see it, if parents are able to see me thinking about and explaining my curriculum in our social spaces, they will begin to see our school as a place where curriculum is just as important as the jazz band competitions or the final scores of our basketball games.
Sharing academic content that is directly connected to the required curriculum sends the message that (1). academics matter here and (2). our teachers are geeked about their curriculum. Those are important messages to share.
Long story short: There are a thousand reasons why hashtagging your curriculum make sense. It’s a practice that every teacher ought to think about embracing.
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