MAT Blog

10 Reasons to Start Using Twitter in the Classroom

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Oct 24, 2014 9:49:00 AM

using_twitter_in_the_classroom_

Sometimes Twitter gets a bad rap—and when you scan the news headlines or read about the latest mis-tweets and social media blunders committed by celebrities, politicians and everyday Jane and Joe’s like us, it’s not hard to understand why!

That said, we still believe that there are lots of good reasons for teachers to start using Twitter in the classroom. Our list could have been longer, but here’s how we use Twitter in the classroom.

To Keep a Steady Stream of Calendar Updates
Just picture all the times you go home, are washing the dishes, and think, “I sure hope they remember that Project X is due tomorrow...” Now you can send a Tweet in the same time it

takes to think the thought. Boom.

To Give Students Shout-Outs
Few things are as pleasing as receiving appreciation—especially when it comes from someone we respect. Appreciation has the power to energize us, rekindle our enthusiasm and restore commitment and confidence. Why not go public and give your students a shout-out on Twitter?

To Engage Students in Discussions
Make “Tweeting one discussion question and one discussion reply” a homework assignment; then use the following class day to discuss the questions and comments.

To Set Up a Foreign Language News Stream
If you teach a foreign language, Twitter can help your students hone their language skills. Simply follow users who speak the target language and challenge your students to use their translation skills!

To Connect to Real Life
Tweet news feeds, links to YouTube videos, or even your own pictures or thoughts regarding real life objects or events that are related to your current classroom lesson(s). Students love interactive learning. Your Tweets will keep them in the intellectual loop or introduce them to new and exciting concepts you might not have had time for in the classroom.

To Keep Parents Connected
Using Twitter in the Classroom can also be a 2-for-1. Parents can follow the Twitter stream and will feel connected and engaged. Plus, they are much more likely to be on your side when it comes to missing assignments or “forgotten” test days.

To Connect With and Learn From Other Educators
There are lots of educational leaders, scientists, writers, historians, and other key players out there with whom you have educational and thought-provoking things to say. No tweets about what they’re eating, how many miles they ran, how good their latte is, or in Kanye West’s case, how cool ninjas are.

To Teach Students the Art of Concision
Twitter only gives you 140 characters to work with. We think that’s a good thing—especially if you’re trying to teach students how to be less wordy and more concise.

To Teach Students About Their Digital Footprint
Celebrity mis-tweets are funny to read, but we believe that they can actually facilitate teachable moments, lessons about what we should and should not share with the public.

To Live Tweet Field Trips
Not every parent or student can make it to the class field trip. Bummer, right? That’s where Twitter comes in. When you “live tweet” your trip, parents and students can follow along by looking at your pictures and text descriptions.

Photo credit: shawncampbell / Foter / CC BY

Get some ideas on how you can use social media as a tool in your classroom by watching our FREE webinar, Social Media Strategies for Teachers, presented by award-winning teacher, blogger, and educational technologist, Richard Byrne. 

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Tags: twitter in the classroom, apps for educators, technology in the classroom

"You're Doing What!?”: Using Twitter in the kindergarten classroom

Posted by Marygrove MAT on May 11, 2013 6:00:00 AM

twitter in the classroom"You're doing WHAT with your kindergarteners!?"  Usually this is the reaction I get when I tell people I use Twitter with my students. (New to Twitter?  Watch this video, set up an account, thank me later!) Maybe they're picturing a bunch of five-year-olds sending each other messages about their favorite T.V. show. Twitter is a tool for social connections, but it can be so much more! 

Prior to this, I had been using Twitter as a professional learning network. One day I started thinking.... if I'm getting excited about connecting with the world in this way...wouldn't my STUDENTS enjoy it too?

Student account made, kid-friendly picture uploaded, parent email sent... we're in business!

We began simple—a few "tickets to exit" at the end of the day and we were rereading our own tweets. Then we graphed the number of our followers and watched it increase. Sometimes students would take turns rereading our tweets and typing their own: "What I learned today..." is one simple example.

Next, we started using Twitter to gather information. For kindergartners, that means asking things like, "What 'h-brother' words do you know?" One student got excited about writing story problems, so she and her math group started tweeting people math stories. Yeah!!   

Then along came my super student. You know, the one that always understands the lesson before you teach it? This same student made a poster in March, warning others to watch out for the naughty leprechaun who makes messes in our classroom during recess.  He asked, "Is there a way to put this poster on Twitter?" Umm... yeah!!!  After getting his parent's consent, I got out my cellphone and point, click, click... this 5 year old was a published author. We had just stepped into the world of online publishing!

We've started to publish things that we already do in class. I just take pictures of their work and tweet it. Story problems, writing, math work, etc... just take a picture and tweet!  We've also published videos of them reading, giving book previews, giving a book retell, and having a math conversation. 

It's amazing, but when the iPad pops out, the oral reading is expressive, the previews have more details, the retells get longer, and the conversations more in-depth.  All this as a result of spending one minute figuring out how to post videos on Twitter.   

I love using Twitter in my classroom!  My students are engaged in their learning. They want to learn so they can share their insightful sentence on Twitter at the end of the day. Also, they have an authentic audience.... THE WHOLE WORLD...., so they want to have quality work. Often they will ask to redo something over... and over... and over to get it just right. 

One thing that I love is that my students are going home and Tweeting the class back with their parents. They are thinking about what we learned in class, watching other students read, and rereading our old posts.... AT HOME!!!   Amazing!!  I absolutely love using Twitter in my classroom, and I hope you try it too!! 

Follow us!  @wkinders2013

twitter in the classroom maria westmanMarie Westman is a three-year Kindergarten teacher at Morrish Elementary School, Swartz Creek Community Schools. She received her B.A. from Northern Michigan University (Elementary Education, Language Arts) and is pursuing her Master in the Art of Teaching degree from Marygrove College. Currently, she lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where she enjoys spending time outdoors and kayaking. When she’s not teaching or “tweeting” with her students, she can be found spending time with her wonderful extended family.


    Twitter- @mariewestman

    Class Twitter- @wkinders2013

    Class Website- www.openningthecrayonbox.weebly.com

    Blog- http://mariewestman.edublogs.org

 

Tags: twitter in the classroom, writing strategies, apps for educators, writing fluency, writing skills, apps for teachers, student engagement, technology in the classroom

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