Some of the things I do from day to day are intentional, meaning, I guess, that I go out of my way to do them for a purpose beyond the act itself. One example is using the pseudo-word automagic instead of automatic. There’s a certain cache to the word that commands especial attention, but beyond that, it signifies something special about the experience. I don’t just slip when I say automagical, but instead I purposefully choose it.
I also have recently gotten into the habit of summarizing thoughts and ideas. The practice of summarization was one of Robert Marzano’s techniques for learning that he found was effective across classrooms. In essence, students know material when they can summarize it. Whether it is for me, or for the benefit of students, I believe the practice of summarization is generally a good thing to do.
So, I’ve been thinking, what is the ultimate summary? It’s a single or even a series of hashtags. Hashtags are words or phrases used in online social spaces to label a concept in a simple way. They first came to light in social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us. Socially creating hashtags or keywords is actually called folksonomy and there is some study around this and its benefits for organizing information.
So here’s my big idea for a Friday: Consider a movement towards hashtagging with students. Show them first, then ask them to follow. You can even camp it up by creating the hashtag symbol/movement with two sets of fingers. It will feel silly. The students will certainly roll some eyes. But in the end, you’re pushing them to think about concepts through summary.
And by the way, for our Tweeting teachers. If you think something you’re doing in school is well-aligned with our strategic plan, consider adding our hashtag to your tweet: #inspire2020