Here’s a relatively amazing back-to-school professional development story, experienced by teachers in Newport News, Virginia: Watch a movie AT the movie theater together, and live-blog it together using Twitter. According to Cathy Grimes’s article last Friday, “Teachers practice blogging at the movies:”

Passage Middle School’s first gathering for faculty and staff happened in an unlikely place.

They met in theater 14 in Hampton AMC 24 at 9:30 Thursday morning. Their assignment: watch the film “Julie & Julia” and practice blogging skills using Twitter.

Twitter is a social networking site where users post messages of 140 characters.

Principal Kipp Rogers, who said he prefers films with car chases and action, asked the teachers to watch the film because one of the main characters blogs about her efforts learning to cook using a Julia Child cookbook.

All Passage instructional staff members who work directly with students will have blogs with student writing prompts and assignments, Rogers said. The goal is to link writing with every subject taught at Passage, which recently was certified as an International Baccalaureate school.

Woo hoo, let’s hear it for educators in Virginia being proactive with social media and embracing its constructive potential! Could you please send some school representatives to meet with my local school board, who seem to still regard blogging as equivalent to an animal sacrifice ritual? (In terms of its propriety and place in the classroom.)

H/T elikeren.

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