Thursday, April 28, 2016

5 Tips (and a Bonus!) to Start Tweeting with Your Students

Have you thought about tweeting with your students but didn't know how to get started?  The end of the school year is a great time to pilot something new!  Below are 5 tips that the fabulous teachers at Coonley Elementary (@CoonleyES) have implemented (along with a bonus tip!).

Start on Paper

The first week of school I begin with a Twitter Prompt-a-Day to get the school community  excited for the upcoming year. While my goal is to someday see all of our teachers with a Twitter account we aren't quite there yet. 
Photos by @CoonleyLibrary
 Not wanting to leave anyone out, I ask the teachers to tweet on paper and then I tweet it from the school account.  Additionally, you can have students create "tweets" via sentence strips to practice offline.  Have little learners?  How about creating a graphic organizer that only has 140 boxes (this is the character limit on Twitter) for students to practice tweets on (and sneak in a bit of summarizing). It's an easy way to involve everyone, and often teachers see how excited the students are to share their voice so they become open to exploring Twitter as a class. 

Dedicate a Bulletin Board to Ideas and Best Practices

@CarpenterCougar (one of our tweeting second grade teachers) was brave enough to not only start a class account @2ndCougars but now has his students tweet!  As he turned the account over to them the class brainstormed what to tweet and things to include in each message. His students are doing a great job!













Let Your Students Design Your Profile Picture

Another great way to engage your class is to have a profile picture contest!  @CoonleyRoom301 our
4th graders have a chance to show off their artistic talents and draw fun logos for their account.  Consider rotating multiple profile pictures throughout the year!

Make Tweeting a Job

Sixth grade teacher @MsMVisser makes tweeting one of the classroom jobs in her room!

















Keep Your Parents Informed

While we have general district media release forms for our students we like to add an additional consent form specifically for Twitter (we have one for Instagram as well).  Not only does this make parents feel respected and connected, it opens the door for them to have additional prompts at the dinner table beyond "how was your day".  We've had many instances of parents tweeting us from vacations and tweeting back to their child during the day!  



Bonus!

I hope that these tips help you get excited to get started with Twitter in your classroom.  Once you are active, consider joining some Twitter-based initiatives such as the Global Math Task Twitter Challenge where you can either sign up to lead a week or simply offer this as an additional learning opportunity for your kids. Another fun one (created by our very own @CarpenterCougar) is #GIFVocab where you can have your students define vocabulary terms using Gifs!  Be sure to search for the hashtag.

Want to Learn More?

Following are links to other blog posts I've written about Twitter in Education.  I would love to hear your ideas- tweet (and follow) me @nmzumpano.  Happy Tweeting!



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