Today is Valentine’s Day, and as one of our literacy activities today, my students contributed to two Twitter chats: #cluesofwhatilove and #vd100.
Students shared clues and/or information about things that mattered to them. These were two very open-ended Twitter chats, and it was interesting to see what the students shared and how they replied to tweets.
It amazed me though that these two chats could lead to two big surprises. The first one came when two Grade 2 students approached me. They wanted to write about someone that they loved, and they asked if they could write about one of the students in this class. Below is a video I recorded of these two students explaining why they wanted to tweet about this other student:
I love how this Twitter writing activity became a character education activity too. My students genuinely care about the other students in the classroom and the school, and they want the world to know that all of these children matter to them. What a great message for Valentine’s Day and every day of the year!
Then came the second surprise, and my realization that tweeting is a text form and one that all students can understand. I walked over to the desktop computer where one of my students, who also happens to have autism, was writing about a food that she loves called, “ice.” She explained why she loves this food and then she went to add the hashtag. I thought that she was going to use #vd100, but this is what she did instead:
She meant to use 2012, but she accidentally pressed the “3” instead of the “2.” The point doesn’t change though. Thanks to George Couros (@gcouros) and his post about Twitter Hashtags In The Classroom, my students have been hosting and participating in weekly Twitter chats. They have all come to understand the terminology of Twitter, and understand the purpose in using hashtags. This child knew that sorting her work by “favourite foods” was more appropriate it than sorting it by “things that she loves.” She made a choice for the audience that she wants to have for her work, and this choice will also impact on the replies that she gets to her tweet. As a writer and a tweeter, she made an informed choice, and this choice occurred because of her knowledge of the writing form.
Twitter is one of many tools that I use as part of my writing program. I think that there’s tremendous value in using this tool, and I saw this even more today. Why do you use Twitter with your students? What value do you see for using this tool as part of your writing program? I’d love to know your thoughts!
Very cool story Aviva…I love that your students are using this in meaningful ways. I often wonder if students could not read Twitter with the hashtags, mentions, and terminology, are they are also becoming illiterate? If news sources are using this as a mainstream way to connect and share stories, should we not be able to read this? You are well on your way with your students to ensure that they are truly literate in our world, while also teaching them to adapt to a constantly changing world.
Awesome post and activity! Thanks for the mention 🙂
Thanks for the comment, George! What an interesting thought. I think that learning to read something like Twitter really does make students literate in today’s world. Just yesterday, one of my students brought in a Justin Bieber book for Show and Tell, and some of his tweets were listed in the book. The students understood these tweets. They understood his need for connecting with others, and they could connect this to what they do too. I think this is fantastic, and I’m so glad that a post like yours inspired me to do even more in the classroom with a tool like Twitter!