Sunday, June 22, 2014

Twitter: Suggestions for Use

Now that you know all about Twitter (what it is, special Twitter vocabulary, setting up an account, navigating the website, sending tweets, the hashtag, Twitter chats, and Twitter accounts to follow), it's time to put that information to use. Below are some ideas I have about using Twitter as a teacher.

Suggestions for teacher-posts with limited interaction:
  1. Reminders about assignments that are due or upcoming quizzes/exams/projects
  2. Reminders about snow days, picture days, sporting events, field trips, spirit days, etc. 
  3. School events and/or their outcomes (plays, musicals, art shows, academic meets, etc.) -- especially ones where your school won/did well or is playing a rival
  4. Hints about how to complete an assignment or project
  5. Bonus points that can only be aquired through Twitter. {For instance, when I taught high school English, I once tweeted, "Go to the class website and scroll to the bottom of the home page. The first student to describe to me the newest object at the bottom of that page gets 5 bonus points." The purpose of this, of course, was to get students to view the class website and the newest important tool on it.}
  6. Helpful websites
  7. Links to related online games
  8. Helpful apps
  9. Books you recommend
  10. Vocabulary words/definitions in a Word of the Day (#WOTD) format
  11. A poll to help your classroom/planned lessons {either with the answer options included in the tweet or as a link to another polling platform, like Survey Monkey, for instance}
  12. Exit ticket answers {If students ask a question on an exit ticket, you could answer it on Twitter.  This allows everyone to benefit from the answers without taking up valuable class time.}
  13. Motivational/inspirational quotes 
  14. Challenges {"I challenge you to find one example of alliteration today."..."I challenge you to do one random act of kindness -- #ROAK -- today."}
If you're interested in using twitter for professional development purposes, please read this blog post.

Posts to stimulate interaction/potential student projects:
  1. Schedule a chat. For instance, I might specify the #MrsKSci4 hashtag and assign a start time of  7 pm. Ideally, at 7 pm, students would log on and use the search box to find our class's hashtag. We can then have an online discussion of classroom topics outside the walls of our classroom. You could discuss anything from an in-class topic to a President's speech on television to a movie you all went to see. Click here to read more about Twitter chats. 
  2. Peer-to-peer tutoring. Encourage parents/students to tweet questions. Other students/parents could check the hashtag and answer peer's questions. We learn best when we teach! Of course, you'll want to monitor the feed to ensure that all questions are answered accurately.
  3. Exit ticket. At the end of class, ask students to whip out their mobile device and tweet a quick exit comment/question to the cyber-world. Hopefully, these tweets generate a discussion for other students answering their peers' questions. You also get a quick evaluation of who understands the material.
  4. Summary of the day. Whether you've just taught a math lesson or you've just finished another chapter in the class novel, students can tweet a 140-character summary of the day's lesson. In order to make assessment easier, you might consider having students either tweet this as a "reply" or include the class hashtag.
  5. Short answer quiz questions. Of course,  <140-characters/tweet is a short short answer! But if you're able to explain/answers something in such a short and concise manner, you're probably more likely to understand it.
  6. Twitter as bellwork. This feeds off the last suggestion, but immediately upon entering the room,  there will be questions or a discussion prompt on the board {or tweeted by you}. Students must respond to the question(s)/discussion prompt while you take care of those mundane "house-keeping" duties {attendance, lunch count, etc}.
  7. Summary of text. After reading a chapter in a novel or expository textbook, ask students to tweet  summary of what they just read. 
  8. Timeline report. Follow a celebrity or company and track their tweets over time. Then write a report over their day-to-day life. This could work as a biography project or even for a business class.  
  9. Find students in another school/state/country with whom your students can tweet back and forth. It would be challenging to convey all information in 140-character segments, but that might create more concise writers. 
  10. Create a class story. One student can start by tweeting the beginning line to a story. Students then take turns to tweet a class story, one line at a time. This collaborative project works on writing skills, creativity, and sharing.
  11. Getting to know you. As a back to school activity, ask students to describe themselves in 140-characters or less. If students' Twitter usernames weren't easily recognizable, you could even play a game where students must guess which student belongs with which tweet.
  12. Character tweet. After reading a novel, students can pick a character from the story and tweet, say, 5 status updates throughout the day. Each status update should be written in the 1st person format, as if the student were actually the character. 
  13. Historical tweet. Feeding off the previous suggestion, you could ask students to pick a person from history and impersonate them on Twitter throughout the day. What would Abe Lincoln have to say if Twitter was available during his time? A website called Historical Tweets might help with this.
  14. Hashtag timeline. Monitor the hashtags over a period of time to see the trends of our society. This would be great for a history or current events class. 
  15. Hashtag quick-write. On a random day, write the current trending topics on the board. Ask students to write about a curtain hashtag either individually or as a group. They could write their thoughts, create a story, etc.
  16. Personal story. Using the 3 parts of a story, ask students to write an entire story in 420-characters or less (140 for the beginning, 140 for the middle, and 140 for the end). 
  17. Micro-research paper. Ask students to create a micro-research paper using the Twitter guidelines. The intro paragraph must be 140-characters, the thesis must be 140-characters, the first paragraph.... you get the idea. Each part of the micro-paper must comply with Twitter character count rules. 
  18. Spelling race. Tell students a word in class and see who can tweet the correct spelling the most quickly. (You could also do this for math problems, science/history trivia questions, etc.)
  19. Vocab race. Tweet a word and see who can reply with the correct definition the most quickly...or vice versa.
  20. Vocab sentences. Tweet a word and ask students to reply with a tweet that uses that vocabulary word correctly in a sentence. 
  21. Synonym/Antonym race. Call out a word and ask students to tweet synonyms or antonyms.
  22. Book club. Students can tweet book blurbs in an effort to get other kids to read great books.
Ways you can keep track of tweets from students:
  1. Create a hashtag for each class or group of students. For instance, I might specify #MrsKSci4 for my 4th grade Science Lab classes. From that point forward, if I wanted to find my students' tweets, I just type #MrsKSci4 in the search bar and read away. 
  2. Create lists. You can create a list for all of your students, and then divide them by class and/or subject. When you want to read their tweets, just click on the name of the list and read only tweets from students on that list.
  3. Ask students to "mention" you in every classroom-related tweet.

Here are 22 ways to use Twitter for learning, based on Bloom's Taxonomy, courtesy of Teach Thought.

This article by Teach Thought has 100 of the best Twitter tools for teachers. Some of them are great for use with students. 

Below are the other Twitter posts I've written for this blog:

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