Each morning as we start our day together, I draw attention to things that my students may have missed or mentions from our Twitter feed. This short time together each morning discussing our Twitter feed has resulted in rich discussions that prompt thinking, cause us to wonder and lead us to seek out further information.
There are many opportunities during the school day to incorporate the use of twitter. A good place to start is to read the tweets from the other classes you follow, ask questions or provide comments as a whole class. The following examples will give you some ideas on how to involve Twitter in literacy, math and science. All of the Twitter activities explained can be done as a whole group, small group or by individual students.
I encourage students to continuously ask questions and be curious about their surroundings. Students are always encouraged to pose questions they are wondering about on Twitter. It has been fascinating how many people have responded to my students’ questions. This activity has shown my students that Twitter can be a place to acquire information from others.
Fairy Tale Riddles
During our Fairy Tale unit my students discovered by reading the class Twitter feed that a class in Maine was also learning about fairytales. They connected through Twitter and started tweeting a fairytale riddle to each other each day. You can see some of their riddles on the right.
Once Upon A Tweet
Erin Mastin, a grade 1 teacher in Michigan created the hashtag #1uponatweet. The idea is that one class begins a story with a single tweet adding the hashtag, #1uponatweet. Then a different class will continue the story adding to the previous tweet. At the end of the week, day or however long you want to wait, have students read how the story has changed from when they added to it. One idea to extend this activity is to type the story out for your students, have your students choose a tweet to illustrate either on paper or the iPad, then tweet out the finished product! Another idea to extend this activity is to discuss if the story has a beginning, middle and end or a main idea. You could also discuss voice and or audience. There are endless possibilities for this activity.
Post A Daily Word
Challenge your students to unscramble an anagram, contribute antonyms or synonyms, or tweet a definition to the word of the day. This could also be done with their weekly spelling words or words of the week.
Creating Math Stories
Another great hashtag to participate in is Karen Lirenman’s creation #MathStory. Students create math stories or problems for other students to answer.
This is a great activity for any child because they can select the most appropriate leveled question for themselves. Another great thing about Twitter is that your shy or more reluctant students will be more willing to participate in these activities because they choose what to answer or comment on. The first time we did this activity, I connected with a colleague on Twitter and we set a time where our students would ask math questions back and forth. I had all of my students on the carpet with the Twitter feed displayed on our white screen. At the same time, my students all had their iPads and were on the Twitter app. We read the questions together as they appeared on our Twitter stream and then students volunteered to answer the question they wanted to answer. We then took a turn creating and asking math questions. Not only were my students responsible for creating and asking the questions, they were also responsible for responding to the child that answered their question by telling them if they answered the question correctly or not. We then had a Skype session to debrief the students on the activity and they ended up continuing with the math questions by way of Skype because they were having so much fun. This example really illustrates how an authentic audience motivates and encourages students to participate and extend their learning.
Many of my students enjoy sharing their art creations, a quick snap of the camera roll and an explanation of the art project is all that is needed to tweet it to the world. Other students use twitter for research. They may ask questions that need to be answered by experts in a particular field. Students also like to respond to questions or comments from other Twitter feeds that we follow. A great way to begin tweeting is to simply have students write about what they are up to at school that day, or start with the “Tweeter of the day”. Where one student is responsible for tweeting the news of the day. All the above examples incorporate, thinking, reading and writing for an authentic audience and best of all, my students are excited by it! Bring a little excitement into your class this year and create a class Twitter feed!