It’s Monday afternoon in a kindergarten class in an elementary school in Anytown, USA. Five- and six-year-olds are gathering to think about their day, what they’ve learned, and what they’d like to share via Twitter to fellow classmates in Indonesia, Germany, or Brazil.
First, the teacher signs into the classroom Twitter account. Then, she projects the site onto SmartBoard® and the class begins verbalizing some of the many exciting things they experienced in their kindergarten day…
We reviewed our vocabulary words.
It snowed today!
It’s Johnny’s birthday.
We’re learning about astronauts!
The giraffe at our zoo had a baby!
Together, they compose a 140-character message, click goes the button, and off goes the Tweet.
This is happening in classrooms and schools all over the world. Students as young as PreK are learning, sharing, discovering, questioning, and having a blast via Twitter. It’s more than just “cute.” It is the beginning of a lifelong digital learning journey for these young students. The development of empathy for others who are “different” , finding their voice for the first time, taking ownership of the content they write—these are just wonderful side benefits of Twitter!
Yes, Twitter is working in all kinds of classrooms. And better than you might have ever imagined. Here are just a few of the many ways you can use Twitter to engage and excite students:
1. Follow a news station to stay on top of the weather.
2. Live Tweet a field trip.
3. Communicate with an expert—like a meteorologist or children’s author.
4. Keep parents in the loop about what’s going on in their child’s day.
5. Take a poll. Ask classrooms you’re connected to what they think about an issue.
6. Blend Twitter with Google Earth to learn about new places.
7. Carry on a multi-classroom chat about—say—frogs. Or whatever your students are studying.
8. Write a short (140 character) story and practice being concise.
9. Twitter summaries or recaps at the end of the day of what was learned.
10. Find out about great books other classes are enjoying.
11. Ask for help or advice.
12. Tweet sentences using a particular word for vocabulary building.
13. Share an interesting link.
14. Pose a question and gather real-time feedback.
15. Share a cool discovery just made in a lesson.
16. Tweet out math problems to see the different ways other students solve them.
There you go…16 stimulating ways to integrate Twitter into your everyday routine. There are millions more. You and your students are limited only by your creativity! Have fun!
For more ways to use Twitter to teach and engage, check out SDE’s webinar Twitter for Teachers 201: Tips for Using Twitter as a Learning Tool in the Elementary Classroom (Grades K–5) by kindergarten teacher and technology innovator Matt Gomez.
How about you? Are you teaching with Twitter? Please share your best ideas!