Friday, July 3, 2015

The Power of Twitter

I started using Twitter (@lekadegroot) to form a professional learning network (PLN) about five years ago. I learned so much from my PLN and have grown as an educator. I met many inspiring, willing teachers to collaborate and connected our classrooms via Skype, Google Hangouts, and student blogs. Three years ago with an encouragement from my PLN, I opened up a new Twitter account for my classroom (@mrsdegrootclass). I have to be honest. At first I really didn't know how things would go and was even a little skeptical about introducing my first graders into the Twitter world. Soon that uneasy feeling disappeared as I saw excitement in my students' eyes and most of all great learning opportunities that came along.

Here are some different ways we use our class Twitter;
  1. Share what is happening in our classroom.

      2. Ask questions about other classes' Tweets.

    3. Communicate with children's book authors... and sometimes they respond back!

  4. Ask an expert.  
  5. We share and end up inspiring others! My students were thrilled to know they had good influence on other first graders.

But the best learning comes when we develop learning communities for our students by creating unique hashtags. Students are able to share their thinking and teach each other via Twitter.

For example, I started a hashtag for math talks = #mtgr1 (math talks grade 1) where I post a weekly open ended question. Students share their answers and ideas at #mtgr1. Later in each week my class and I go over the tweets from other classes and discuss what they learned. You can read more about #mtgr1 HERE.

Another community that I created was #1bc15 (1st grade book club 2015) where participating classes read a book called "My Father's Dragons" and shared their thoughts and learning using #1bc15. You can read about how it was set up HERE.  Tweets from other classes were simply amazing. Children were visualizing, making predictions, making connections, retelling stories, identifying character traits, learning new vocabulary and a lot more. If I was reading this book with just my class, it was impossible to cover all the elements of reading. However when you are learning with 20+ first grade classes, it is possible! We enjoyed checking #1bc15 Twitter feed every day.

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participating classes 

There are many more hashtags that teachers create to share learning opportunities with other classes. We all know that learning is so much more powerful when we have authentic purpose and audience. After three years of integrating Twitter into my classroom, I can simply say class Twitter is one of the best tech tools that we use. Are you new to Twitter or thinking about starting class Twitter? Here are more resources on using Twitter in the classroom form two rockstar educators!