Thursday, July 14, 2016

Twitter Tips & Tricks

Twitter is by far my favorite tool to use in the classroom. I do use it as brand promotion, but today  I am focusing on how I use it at school with my students.

I came pretty late to the Twitter thing, and was a bit resistant to it at first. I thought it would be just another thing to add to my social media list, but I’ve really come to love it as a teaching tool. I use it at least twice a week (shooting for daily next year) to tweet pictures and updates about what is happening in my classroom. Many other teachers in my school do this as well. We use a common hashtag so we can easily see each others’ tweets.

Here are three reasons why I love using Twitter in the classroom.

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By using Twitter, I am able to give people a glimpse of what is going on inside our classroom. Parents can’t be there every day, but they can see pictures of projects we are working on or what we did on our field trip. Parents love seeing what is happening in our class.

I am also able to easily connect with the community by sending a tweet. When we are curious about books, we can compose a tweet together and send it to the local librarian. When studying weather, we were able to tweet with a local meteorologist, and my students were over. The. moon. Mo Willems favorited a tweet about The Pigeon. It doesn’t get better than that.

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There are still many misconceptions of what kindergarten actually does all day, so I like to show off the hard word we are doing (and succeeding in). Using the Twitter app on my phone or iPad, I can take a quick picture of the data collection and representation we are doing, the STEM challenges students come up with on their own, or proud kids who’ve met a big goal. I want to knock out the stereotype that kindergarten is coloring and naps.

And it’s not just me doing the showing off. Sometimes, I pose a question and have my students formulate their answers. I pull up Twitter on our projector and we discuss what we want to share with the world. In order for me to share their thoughts, they have to answer in a complete sentence and justify why. Since they all want their tweets featured, they work extra hard to make sure they are answering properly.

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In college, one thing that always stuck out to me was the idea that teaching is a political act. I know many teachers shy away from anything political as not to alienate anyone (or lose jobs over their views), but I do believe going to school day in and day out is very political and speaks to the values teachers hold. Although, yes, it could get me in trouble, I use Twitter to express ideologies that are important to me.

I live in/ teach in Chicago, Illinois, which is beautiful but has had many issues regarding education lately. In response to the frustrations and fears I am feeling about that, I have taken to Twitter to show exactly what kind of classroom I have.  #notaprison took off in response to a political official comparing our schools to prisons. I used this hashtag to show some of the fun and excitement for learning that goes on in our classroom. We used #20for20 to show what our schools would look like if we keep receiving less than adequate funding. Because of these politically charged hashtags, I connected with several new people and was able to get all the feels hearing about the great things other schools are doing despite challenges.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing! I am going to try to use Twitter more this year and this has helped.

    ReplyDelete