Saturday, May 4, 2013

Twitter Tuesday

Twitter is a social networking tool which can connect learners of all ages.  I use Twitter to connect with educators around the world, and share ideas.  Twitter allows you to quickly sort through ideas and learn more about ideas that interest you.  I tweet about what is happening at a conference I may be at, an amazing thing I see happening in classroom, and of course I always tweet about this blog!  Teachers can use Twitter in a similar way with their students as well!
I work with a fourth grade class at one of my buildings pretty regularly.  This teacher approached me about utilizing Twitter in her classroom.  Twitter Tuesday is what we came up with.  'Twitter Tuesday' is an activity which incorporates Twitter into the classroom.  Students use Twitter to communicate ideas, thoughts, and themes which have been discussed in the classroom.  We definitely wanted to make sure that we follow guidelines in CIPA and as our students were in the 4th grade we didn't want to sign up all of her class with Twitter accounts.  So, we decided to have students write paper tweets instead.  This teacher found a wealth of pins on Pinterest on exactly this idea.  She found a plethora of ideas on different ways to create paper tweets when she search 'class twitter'.  Students all receive these paper tweets and tweet when they have a lightbulb thought, or learn something new, or want to share an idea.  You could also use something like Edmodo, Today's Meet, Padlet, or Schoology to have students tweet.   At the end of the day the teacher selects the best few tweets to tweet on Twitter using their class twitter account.
When I started to work with classrooms on this idea i anticipated the excitement and engagement.  I knew that it would be a great tool for summarizing big ideas, and getting kids to take a more involved role in their education.  What I didn't expect was how this lesson became a teaching tool in itself for summarizing a lesson, and with hashtags identifying the main idea.  It also pushed students to become creative writers and develop their ability to write with an audience in mind.   Yes Twitter Tuesday is a great way to incorporate technology in the classroom, but it is also a way to develop summarizing skills, main idea, and author's purpose.  To see Twitter Tuesday in action, follow @firstgradehawks, or @mrsdanyus.
When you would like to incorporate technology into the classroom it is important to put our desired learning outcomes first, and then find the technology to support the desired skill.  Looking forward to the common core, students need to be able to synthesize information in texts, and clearly write.  
In fourth grade students need to be able to write clearly and express opinions with support from the text.    Let's look at one standard for the common core in 4th grade.   CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1a Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer’s purpose.  This standard demands that students be able to communicate a thought which also is supported by evidence.  Twitter Tuesday can help to develop many of these standards, including the above standard.   

A classroom 'Twitter Wall' in a first grade classroom.  

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