Skip to content

Where Shakespeare, EduTwitter, and Advocacy Meet

Sonnet 76 is an enduring favorite of mine. It’s Shakespeare writing about writing. It speaks of abiding passion, and I am all passion. I once memorized this poem for a 10th grade recitation, and it has never left me:

Sonnet 76

Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods, and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?
O! know sweet love I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument;
So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
For as the sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told.

My favorite line runs through my head when I am in EduTwitter (#TrueStory):

“All my best is dressing old words new.”

This speaks to me… and, yeah, of me.

I have spent years beating the same drums about literacy research and critical math practices… over… and over. I’ve probably tweeted the Baseball Study a few hundred times, and I shared Emily Hanford’s Hard Words documentary so many times that she probably blocked me. #SorryNotSorry

These pieces embody some of the most important insights in K–12 education. They represent Essential Research No One Knows. It’s not only OK to keep sharing these gems – it is imperative.

You know what I’ve learned by tweeting that excellent video on the Baseball Study a few hundred times? No one judges… ’cause it’s insightful, powerful stuff. I swear that every time I share it, someone responds with, “Wowza! That’s eye-opening.”

Something else I’ve learned: We assume that everyone around us has read the articles that’ve gone viral, but we’re mistaken. Recently, I met with my daughter’s amazing kindergarten teacher from last year, and I started taking about Hard Words: Why Aren’t Kids Being Taught to Read?  with that of course you have read this because everyone has read this  air. Know what? She hadn’t even heard of Hard Words.

And that’s what we need to remember: there are 3M+ educators in the United States. It takes foreverrrr for new info to permeate the profession. So it’s beyond-OK to keep sharing the same remarkable article three or four or fifty times, to help it find new eyes.

Do I tire of sharing these same old things for the hundredth time? Well, sometimes. And I’m not looking to win the Most Tiresome Tweeter mantle. Here’s my take on the art of oversharing insights:

Don’t Be a Bot: I’m not suggesting that you get a TweetDeck account and schedule the same freaking tweets each week. That gets old, as we all see in the EduTwitterverse.

Instead, find more authentic ways to share the same critical research/articles. Share them in Twitter chats, and during conferences with active hashtags… it’s the best way to find new audiences for the same info. Use those articles in replies to tweets that are on-point (conversation FTW!). Keep it interesting. (I started making memes to keep it interesting for myself.)

That’s where the Shakespeare comes in: Dress those old words new, y’all!

Come Armed With Content: The best way to keep sharing key research in new ways? Keep essential pieces handy. I keep a Google doc with links to the most useful articles, so I’m always ready to share Tim Shanahan’s piece on test prep misunderstandings and EdWeek’s eye-opener on leveled reading when opportunity knocks. #ProTip

The best reason to have your articles handy is to foster professional learning. You can share the importance of background knowledge to reading comprehension this way:

But it’s much more powerfully expressed with a linked article, offering instant access to professional learning… and – bonus! – more visibility in the reader’s Twitter feed:

Good Timing: This Summer, as folks get their downtime back, I’ll be sharing Hard Words again. And the Baseball Study, and Tim Shanahan’s wisdom. Like Twitter chats, breaks in the school calendar provide opportune windows to share research that folks haven’t discovered previously. Summer reading is a Thing. So is weekend reading.

I dare you to take the most insightful piece you read this year and share it again today (even if you shared it last week). Then again in June. Betcha no one notices the repetition!

One last reason to rock the research: the #EduTwitter PLN needs more research insights and fewer platitudes. Be the font of informative articles that you wish to find in social media.

As you tweet your insight-rich piece for the third time (or the thirtieth time), think of Shakespeare… as I do. Keep ‘dressing old words new,’ and Happy National Poetry Month, friends.


Published inK–12 EducationLiteracyMathMemes

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply