I teach 5th grade ELA and social studies in a Title 1 district, 100% free lunch. Our district has had a long-term focus on literacy, but an incomplete focus at the expense of writing. But a writing initiative is having a wonderful effect, and teachers are encouraged to include 21st century skills in their planning despite technology issues.
Micro-blogging could be the solution to engagement issues and writing fluency weakness in my classroom. If I set up a class Twitter account and taught students how to blog, I doubt I could keep them away from it! The limited number of characters allowed in a tweet would take some pressure off students who are usually asked to write much more and become anxious. Marich (2016) describes Katie Hammer, a second grade teacher, who decided to use Twitter in her classroom. In just 8 weeks, Hammer’s students went from taking 20-30 minutes to write a tweet to 3 or 4 minutes (Marich, 2016). Now that’s fluent!
I definitely think it’s time for me to get a classroom Twitter account. As my young learners tweet, they will learn to connect with others in safe, appropriate ways, becoming digital citizens (International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), 2016). They will learn to express their ideas in a unique platform, becoming creative communicators, shaping their writing to fit the parameters of Twitter (ISTE, 2016).
I, as I learn alongside them, will be modeling to my students a new way to collaborate (ISTE, 2016). And if it goes as well as I suspect it will, I will have an opportunity to demonstrate to other hesitant teacher-learners the many benefits of tweeting on Twitter (ISTE, 2016).
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2016). Standards for students. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-students-2016
Marich, H. (2016 September). Twitter in the elementary classroom: A teacher’s journey. Language Arts. 94(1), 67-70.