Last week, I received an email from a teacher, Robert from California, inquiring about a learning strategy I employed, Twitter Tuesday, which he read about in a blog post. He was looking to adapt the strategy for his own AP US Government class and emailed me for additional information. I was very excited to share with him and thrilled that he journeyed 3,000 miles across cyberspace to connect. My excitement waned when I realized something.
I had nothing really to share.
Twitter Tuesday, although time tested, battle scarred and presented to death by me at conferences, was never formalized. I had it down pat somewhere in my mental filing cabinet. I never fleshed out on paper. Why would I? I knew it cold. It was mine.
So, here it is so it can be someone else’s. It can be used by Robert from California. It can be used from “sea to shining sea” for that matter. Tweet away, world. Here it is, Twitter Tuesday:
1) Spend one-two lessons teaching digital citizenship.
2) Distribute parent permission forms. Allow students to opt out, if necessary. Any Tweets can be submitted via other mediums.
3) Supervise creation of student Twitter accounts. This promotes a focused account for course content.
4) Facilitate discussion that establishes “class norms” for Twitter Tuesday. Can Tweets be humorous? Yes, but not inappropriate. Can there be interaction with classmates on Twitter? Yes, but focus on course. Can we engage others in the Twitterverse? Yes, but… Political candidate or journalist, yes. Random stranger, no. Include parents in this conversation. What is our hash tag? Our hashtag usually is #arapgov15 (last two numbers as year).
5) Encourage students to follow each other, follow their teacher, and follow at least ten political personalities or news organizations. Facilitate discussion about “following.” Link “following” to connecting, engaging, learning, sharing. The world is bigger than our own school, neighborhood, city, state, country.
6) When Tuesday arrives, the teacher tweets out an appropriate prompt linked to course content or contemporary political event. Students respond to the prompt with the appropriate hashtag. Later this evolves so students respond to one another. This exercise is a warm up that lasts no longer than ten-fifteen minutes.
7) Teacher assesses student tweets as a participatory grade. The value is being engaged in the conversation, not racking up points on the report card.
8) Teacher also needs to search the hash tag during the week to feature other tweets. As the exercise evolves, students will treat every day as Twitter Tuesday. Their contributions should be valuable parts of the conversation, even when they are not formally assessed as grades.
9) Celebrate student tweets! Many will use this to discuss the course and the events of the day on their own time. Celebrate active citizens. Use these tweets as teachable moments.