A brief note on character limits and characters with no limits

Twitter recently expanded its character limit from 140 characters to 280. Looking at my Twitter feed this morning, I see this concise tweet from Peter Kittle, a character in his own right, grouping me with a few other characters in the National Writing Project’s network. Peter’s tweet helped me wipe the sleep from my eyes and energized me to brave the 8 block walk on a cold St Louis morning to begin the Annual Meeting.

In my first session of the National Writing Project’s Annual Meeting titled, “It’s a (Writing) Sprint! Get into the Flow @ The Current” I’ve been prompted to write by two more characters, Liana Gamber Thompson and Christina Cantrill, who are wearing swim goggles on their heads and hotel bath towels around their shoulders to convey a swim team theme to open ended writing activity. This session is introducing The Current, this open publishing platform attached to the Educator Innovator Network, to writers like me just waking up to this convening, wiping the sleep out of our eyes and getting ready for a vibrant day of learning.

The agenda for this session is silly and simple. Christina and Liana, in their swim coach attire, time ten minute writing “laps” for us, ask us to report out our word counts, and finally reward the word count winner of each lap with a box of Swedish fish. They begin each lap by playing the 2- second video below.

Silly and simple as it may be, this session also has weighty importance for a national network of education leaders, action researchers and learner practioners. It is warm, welcoming, playful, and replicable way to ask teachers to write in public in a space about their work and learning. Peter’s good morning Tweet, reminds me that we can use Twitter, and its generous character allotment to tweet about this meeting,  and our learning. We can share our work on the Current- no swim goggles required- an online space with no character limits… to amplify the good work of the characters who comprise our network.