Starting a School Twitter Feed

The use of social media in education is growing. More districts are supporting this effort with good
reason. Connecting with others outside of our buildings allows our students to become global citizens. It allows students, teachers and administrators to share knowledge, learn, create excitement and to model positive digital citizenship.  It allows us to begin developing our digital tattoos the way WE want them to look.  It's branding, it's storytelling, it's all around empowering.

Recently a colleague at another school in my district asked for advice about my experience with launching a school Twitter account from the ground up.  What should she tweet?  Who would see her content? What were some tips I discovered along the way?  Following is the information I shared with her talking about our journey into Twitter.

Management Tips for Administrators of the Account

  • Create a Master Media Consent Google Doc where all classroom teachers list names of students that have NOT given consent (or have not returned their form).  This way everyone knows at all times who can/cannot be photographed
  • Use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule tweets or prompts
  • Promote teacher accounts (create a list of all the teachers in your school on Twitter for easy access) and retweet/favorite/follow, etc.
  • Embed the Twitter feed on your school website homepage (this allows for those not on Twitter to still feel connected and not miss out on content others are receiving) 
  • Create Twitter signs for each classroom (these are placed on colored paper backgrounds)
  • Don’t follow anyone the first year (still have people tag you by including your school’s Twitter @username but you decide what to retweet to show up on the homepage. I have my “favorites” widget embedded on the school website so anything that I “favorite” shows up in that stream
  • Keep promoting Twitter throughout the year!! I mention Coonley Twitter happenings in every technology newsletter I send home,  (My Twitter bulletin board pictures are below) and I created a “Mid Year Twitter Tweak Blog Post:
  • Help teachers find Twitter Chats relevant to their grade level (click here for official chat schedule)

Tweeting Tips

  • When posting pictures that include kids never have two pieces of identifying information together (such as ‘Johnny in room 204’)
  • Classroom Twitter Bird (or stickers/handouts) for student tweeters. Sample handouts in the “Mid Year Twitter Tweak” blog post above
  • Promote the use of #hashtags. We use #Coonley Learns and #CoonleyCares

Twitter Engagement

  • First week of school prompts teachers ask their students the question of the day and tweet out the answers.  If the teacher is not on Twitter they can have students record answers on a post it and then someone can post a picture of their post it to Twitter

  • put out a list of different ways to ask children how their day was.  I scheduled these prompts to post to Twitter every day throughout September (“instead of how was your day how about…”). It’s a way to engage parents and students in a new conversation
  • 6 Word Memoirs Last year in June my 2nd-7th grade students participated in creating “6 Word Memoirs” to sum up their school year. I tweeted 3 examples a day via Hootsuite and on the last day of school compiled the entire project into one giant slide show to place on Twitter (
  • Global Read Aloud- several of our teachers connected and shared with others via Twitter (as well as Skype and other digital connections)
  • Twitter initiatives such as #GMTTC (Global Math Task Twitter Challenge)

What to Tweet

  • Important dates (days off, picture day, LSC meetings, etc.)
  • Sports blasts (scores, practices, updates, changes)
  • Community outreach (follow the surrounding schools and/or high schools and retweet their stuff that may be relevant to your parents). Here’s the list of what CPS schools are on Twitter:
  • Bulletin boards that are creative or inspiring
  • Projects students complete
  • Hold faculty Twitter Book Chats! (Show your parents teachers are still learning)
  • Congratulate students for accomplishments
  • Student artwork
  • Tweet authors, experts
  • Tweet Audiobooms (our music teacher tweets links to student musical performances)

Additional Resources

Tweets from the first week of school located near our main office

Twitter helps us.....bulletin board with examples of each

"CoonleyES is all a-twitter about the new school year"
featuring teacher Twitter usernames


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