A few years ago I was encouraged to set up my classroom Twitter account. Shortly after looking at a few different examples and researching possibilities, I decided to create a class account. During my school’s back to school night I mentioned to the community that they could follow the class on Twitter. I was excited as a few parents followed the class account that evening. Throughout the rest of that year I Tweeted out different happenings of the class. More community members, including those with students not in my class started following our classroom account. The feedback that I was receiving seemed positive so I decided to continue to use the class account for another year.
This year I had a conversation with parents about our classroom Twitter account during back to school night. I also increased the visibility of the school account with specific hashtags and added video components. So, now that there’s only about two months of school left I’m reflecting on what to keep for next year. Here’s my review:
Students are now writing down their tweets and I’m sending them out
I started this activity back in November. Every week I ask assigned students to create a Tweet that explains what we’ve learned. Students can also mention activities or events that occur. Students write out their Tweet on a separate sheet of paper and I send it out. I find some students find it challenging to write down their thoughts in limited characters. This is a classroom job that students look forward to and I feel like it’s also empowering.
We are using a specific hashtag to track our Tweets
In order to better track our classroom happenings, I decided to create a tag for just our particular class. My school doesn’t have a Twitter tag so the class decided to use #sllearns. For the past few months the class has used that tag to document our learning and activities. The tag also comes in handy to compile Tweets and pictures before school events.
Students now video record themselves and others using the Vine app.
Using the Vine app, students record themselves in different activities in the classroom. This is another assigned job that the students perform. I find video to be a powerful tool in communicating different activities in the class. This has been especially helpful when showing math manipulatives and student presentations. You could also use Instagram for this job.
Post newsletters or calendar events
This was how I originally started using my classroom Twitter account. I Tweeted out school calendar events and classroom links. My school account still does this, just not as often as last year.
Connect to and follow other elementary classrooms
It’s been great to be able to connect with other classrooms through Twitter. Our class has connected with other elementary and middle school classes this year. Mystery and Number Skypes have been possible by connecting with other classes through Twitter. Periodically, my class will review happenings of other classroom accounts. I’m hoping to expand this and somehow collaborate with other classrooms on some type of project in the future.
Answer questions or redirect
Eventually I’d like to be able to use my classroom Twitter account to answer questions from members of the community. I don’t necessarily think that Twitter should be a one way communication method. This is a work in progress, but I’m hoping to use this more next year.
Embed the Twitter stream on the class website
In an effort to increase the visibility of our class Twitter account and to show the value I decided to embed the Twitter stream into my class webpage. This has been beneficial as photos, videos and Tweets can all be viewed directly on the website. The community visits my website so this is an easier way to reach the class Twitter stream. Also, when students write up a Tweet or record a video for the class, they can easily access their production on my class website.
photo credit: ~Ilse via photopin cc
How do you use Twitter in your classroom?