When the year began, I was very hesitant about using Twitter with my students. Social media tools always scared me. I have never had a Facebook Page, and I still don’t, and all that I ever seemed to hear about in the news was the “evils of social media.” With teaching Grade 1 students, I couldn’t believe that I was even contemplating the idea of using Twitter in the classroom, but I read about some schools in the States that use Twitter as an online agenda of sorts, and I thought that this would be a great way to keep my parents informed of school and class events. It was worth a try — right?
I knew that Zoe Branigan-Pipe, an outstanding Grade 6 teacher that continues to inspire me, uses Twitter, and so over the summer of 2009, I checked out her Twitter account (@zbpipe). I then decided to set-up my own account (@grade1), and I e-mailed the Grade 1 parents to tell them about this new system of communication that I was going to try out this year. I got a couple of followers, but nothing much, and I was starting to doubt this plan.
I continued to tweet about classroom and school updates though, and I e-mailed parents weekly to tell them to look at the Twitter page for this information. Thanks to @WinonaKinders, I learned how to make a Twitter widget on the Grade 1 Website, and then I thought that at least parents could see these updates and keep informed. Over the course of my regular tweeting, a Grade 2 class in Missouri started following my tweets. I then decided to follow them.
I think that following @2BGlobalrams was the turning point in Twitter for me. This Grade 2 teacher has a “daily tweeter” as one of her classroom jobs. I loved this idea! I started talking to my students about the importance of protecting themselves online, and I taught them how to use their first names or initials when referring to each other online. We then started doing our daily interactive writing on Twitter. It was incredible! Since students were writing for an audience, they were starting to independently check their own work for spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors, and their writing was improving.
As a class, we then learned about a number of other Twitter tools, including Twitpics, Twitvids, and Twitpaint. It was actually one of my Grade 1 students that taught me about this last tool. We now use all of these tools to communicate with both parents and other schools from around the world.
Twitter has given my students a global perspective and a whole new reason to learn: a global audience of people that care about what they have to say. Thanks to Twitter, I now see the benefits of using social media tools in the classroom. The people that my class have met through Twitter have helped transformed my teaching, and without a doubt, made me a better teacher.
For teachers out there that use Twitter too, what do you think of this social media tool? How has it benefitted your students? For parents out there, what are your thoughts on using Twitter in the classroom? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
A Map Of Our Global Connections: Many Of Which Were Formed Through Twitter
View Global Connections: Starting To Grow in a larger map
I love it! I introduced twitter to my first grade teachers and we had great success tweeting out a question about a project we were studying- wish more teachers were ready to embrace it!
Thanks for your comment! I’m glad that your first grade teachers had great success with Twitter too. It’s amazing how many people are willing to share.
Hello Grade 1 Teacher,
I teach Grade 1/2 in Australia. I have just started using Twitter in the classroom for a few weeks and still finding my way around. Thank you for your idea of a ‘job’ for twittering and I have already added a twitter link to our class blog. Cheers Mrs Davey
Glad that you’re continuing to experiment with different ways of using Twitter in the classroom! I hope that you enjoy what it has to offer as a learning and communication tool.
This is very interesting – I have been wondering for a while how to incorporate twitter into class – this is a great idea. Wondering if you would be interesting in Skype with my Gr 1/2 class? – let me know @soltauheller on twitter or email@example.com
We are interested in hearing from you.
Glad you liked the post! I hope that you try Twitter out with your students. I would love to Skype with your Grade 1/2 class. I’ll tweet you now!