I’m trying something new this year using Twitter in class. I’ve designated a Chief Tweeting Officer (CTO) role in my 6th-grade reading class. I created a class Twitter account, @MrCsClass, a couple of years ago, but I never really did much with it. Occasionally, I used it to share things my students were learning and doing in class, but it was always from my perspective and I used it very inconsistently. I want this year to be different. I want my students to have a greater voice and I want us to share regularly. I hope our rotating CTO job will help us down that road.
Our school has a dedicated hashtag #PDSmem, and in my room have a dedicated Twitter device, too. While at ISTE 2013 this summer I received a free Surface tablet that I wanted to integrate into our learning environment. Using the Surface allows me administrative control, but gives the students the easy access they need. So far, I’m liking the way that it’s working for us.
When introducing my classes to Twitter, I gave the students a handout at the beginning of class to use for Practice Tweets (PDF). (Let me know if you’d prefer a Word document.) We talked about what kinds of things people might want to know about our learning and how we might use Twitter to connect with learners around the world. We discussed including images, hashtags, and links and the importance of adding value to others with what we share. The students had to write two or three tweets during class time while we went about our other class activities. The handout had to be submitted back at the end of class as a “ticket out the door.” Here’s the handout I created (each space represents a character):
(Next time, I might have students send their tweets through a Google form, but for this first exercise I wanted them to use the hashed lines to see the number of characters available.)
I took my class rosters and have assigned students different days where they will serve as our CTO (Chief Tweeting Officer). When the CTO enters the room, he picks up the Surface tablet so he can tweet a few times during the class period. We’ve only been at it a few days, but the boys have done a good job so far. Here is a sample of some of their tweets
— Mr. Cummings’ Class (@MrCsClass) August 19, 2013
Today we did a See, Think, Wonder to show the differences between Poland and Denmark during the Nazi attack. #pdsmem / SDK
— Mr. Cummings’ Class (@MrCsClass) August 29, 2013
— Mr. Cummings’ Class (@MrCsClass) September 4, 2013
Today in class we are doing the ladder of feedback and what to do to have a good ladder of feedback. #pdsmem /ab
— Mr. Cummings’ Class (@MrCsClass) September 6, 2013
As I said, it’s a good start. Hopefully, as the semester goes we’ll be able to connect with some other learners and other classes. We’d love to make some global connections and develop some friendships around the world as we go.
Do your students use Twitter in class? We’d love to hear how they use it. We’d also love to connect with other middle school classes. Consider following us at http://twitter.com/MrCsClass. We’d love to hear from you.