— MsKranenburgsClass (@MsKsGr3and4) September 16, 2015
An elementary class in Canada sent out a plea on Twitter to have people across Canada send them a cup of dirt. The students are going to analyze the soil samples. By having a class Twitter account you are able to connect your students… globally. Twitter is an invaluable resource when you are having your students do authentic projects. How do you find other classes to collaborate with? How do you find professionals in the field? How do you gather data from locations that are not in your community? Twitter can facilitate this.
Set up an Account
The class Twitter account is different than your Twitter account. You use this with your students.
Go to http://Twitter.com and create a new Twitter account. Use something like @schoolGR4 or @teachernameG4. Something that shows it is a class and not a person. Have a photo of your classroom or something that is significant to your classroom. The description should say that this is a class twitter account for grade ___. Make sure you put a broad region (like California or United States or Canada) for location. Other classes will want to know what region they are interacting with.
Twitter attempts to make you follow a bunch of people and do hoop jumping when setting up an account. I recommend you skip these steps. Simply go to Twitter, setup the username and password and then skip the rest. Close Twitter.
In addition to having a class Twitter handle, you will want a class hashtag. This will allow parents and other stakeholders to Tweet awesome things about your class on their own Twitter handle. Having the hashtag the same as the Twitter handle is a good idea. There are good reasons to make them different also. Make sure ALL tweets have the class hashtag.
Tweet My Class
Previously I wrote a blog post on how to have your STUDENTS tweet on the class Twitter account using the class hashtag. In the post I have a template that allows the students to write the tweets. The teacher is logged into the class Twitter account and clicks on the link automatically generated for each tweet the kids write. The teacher launches the tweet, but the students write the tweets. I recommend using a fresh template for each activity.
What to Tweet
Use the class Twitter account to
- Tweet class announcements. “Bring books tomorrow.”
- Show off student work. Tweet pictures!
- Give parents a window into what their child is doing that day, tweet pictures of students actively engaged. (Blur out faces if that is a concern.)
- Tweet the learning objective, let parents know what their children are learning.
- Share student quotes. (Only use first names or just initials.)
- Ask questions! When your students wonder something “Let’s ask Twitter.”
Make sure you use hashtags to aim your question at an audience.
At mention key people in the tweet who can help get the question answered.
Hint to put the at mention last in the tweet, not first.
How does Google Cardboard work? #teacherGr5 #GoogleEDU #edchat #5thchat @jrochelle
- Student take aways from the lesson. “What did you learn today, let’s tweet it.”
- Ask for data. Need information for a project? Ask for it.
- News from field trips.
- Project reminders.
- Articles to read.
- Things you find online that you want to share with your students/parents.
- Tests upcoming.
- Create math (or other subject) challenges between classes.
- Tweet to book authors. Oftentimes, they will tweet back. The ability for students to interact with the author of the book they are reading can be a big deal.
- Quotable kids of funny or timely comments.
- Give your students a public audience. Tweet project samples and ask for input.
Get in the habit of saying “Let’s put that on Twitter.” You can tweet right from your smart phone. Twitter allows you to tweet from multiple accounts. Add your class Twitter account to your Twitter app and tweet from the class account.
Your Twitter stream is what you see when you go to twitter.com. The flow of tweets. The only tweets that should be in your stream are the tweets of people you follow (and advertisements.) Have your class Twitter account follow other classes. Follow local news agencies. Follow reputable organizations such as NASA, Geological society USGS , Discovery channel. Follow book authors such as Peter Reynolds. If you choose carefully who you follow you can project the class Twitter stream. This can be a source of discussion topics and a great way to highlight the accomplishments of students in your class.
Add Your Class
If you have a class Twitter account, add the Twitter handle to the spreadsheet. Find other classes to interact with!