Saturday, December 14, 2013

Resources To Help You Start Your Own Class Twitter Account

Twitter is an invaluable tool in my classroom.  It hasn't always been.  In this post, I want to point out some of my mistakes and how I overcame them to help you and your students be successful with Twitter.


#1 Classroom Twitter Mistake
The Teacher creates and publishes the tweets.


When I first created my Twitter feed, my purpose was to share what we were doing in class.  I created the tweet, took the pictures, responded to tweets, and shared the feed once in a while to my students.  Who owned the learning?  Certainly not my students!  The way I rectified this was that I sat down with my students and we created a new Twitter handle (@mrswideensclass) and I kept the current feed as my professional Twitter handle (@mrswideen).  Instead of me tweeting about my students, my students are now tweeting about their learning and have created their own meaningful connections with peers, as I had, through my personal learning network. 



#2 Classroom Twitter Mistake
Jumping right in without laying the ground work first.


I know you and your students are excited to jump into the the Twitter sphere and start tweeting.  But WAIT!  You need to lay down some parameters first.  Twitter is just like any other digital citizenship piece.  It needs to be discussed over and over.  Safety is our main concern so it is imperative to co create some Twitter norms or rules for being safe while tweeting.  Here are my classroom Twitter Norms that my students and I created and are hanging up in my classroom:

You can download these posters here




#3 Classroom Twitter Mistake
Leaving the parents out of the loop.

Keeping parents informed about incorporating Twitter into the classroom is important in cultivating a sense of community with parents.  Sending home a quick note regarding our Twitter feed with our Twitter handle and how to follow our class was a start to our communication.  Being available to discuss concerns and how we were going to proceed was the most beneficial.  In my experience, clearly explaining that safety is a priority and that the focus of using Twitter in the classroom is always learning, parents supported me whole heartedly.  Included here is a sample of a parent letter created by Samantha Steinberg and myself that was sent home to parents regarding using Twitter in our classroom
Download the letter here


#4 Classroom Twitter MistakeKeeping the Class Twitter Account Locked Down


The purpose of Twitter is to CONNECT with others.  If you make it difficult to connect with other classes, then you are defeating the purpose of Twitter.  Now, I am not saying you follow anyone and everyone that follows your class.  My students and I choose who we follow very carefully.  We follow classes that tweet themselves, add value to our learning and that use Twitter as a tool.  We also love the adults that follow us because they help answer our inquiries and push our thinking.  Twitter expands learning possibilities by making instant connections to a global community.  Sharing perspectives and opinions about the topics my students care about builds writing skills and improves research skills.  

Once you have created your classroom Twitter and are looking for activities to do on Twitter, read my previous posts on I Created A Class Twitter Account, Now What? and Using Twitter To Extend My Math Lessons








2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this! I have learned so much from your blog. This is my 3rd year with a 1:1 iPad classroom of first graders. Tweeting is our next big jump. I have set up the account but have been a little scared of jumping in. Blogging was my first big leap with them. After reading this post, I think I'm ready to jump in with Twitter.

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  2. Kristen, I couldn't find a Contact Form on your blog...I am wanting to chat with you about presenting at a National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference about your use of technology (especially Twitter and Blogs) in the early grades. Please email me: mathematicallyminded@yahoo.com

    Christina

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