Sunday, August 4, 2013

Twitter in Our Classroom~ A Reflection of our Humble Beginnings

While attending the #ILEOhio conference I found myself in an A-Mazing session with Cheryl Nussbaum-Beach.  As part of her presentation Cheryl took the time to get the audience signed up and on twitter. As the new "twitterers" began to tweet they were immediately asking about twitter in the classroom and how others were using twitter. I shared our class twitter account and after a few replies I decided to reflect on about our adventure with twitter.

So thankful for @katiediceasure for pushing me to reflect on our Twitterific year!
Building and Learning with a PLN (Personal Learning Network) in our Classroom~

Why Twitter? 
I want students to be authentic learners and productive citizens of the world, learners who know their voice reaches beyond the classroom walls, learners who share thinking with others, learners who know we are better when we are connected. To reach these goals we need to teach the students the power of sharing and collaborating. We need to teach them what it feels like to share, to be heard, and to grow, because this is what it means to be better together, to borrow @snbeache's phrase.  

 First Things First- Understanding Twitter ~
Building the PLN begins early in the year. We begin by reading the tweets of classrooms that are sharing and connected on twitter. We visit their profile page, locate their city, state, or country on the map and we visit their classroom blog or webpage, we discuss these classes and decide who we will follow. I talk about my connections on twitter and my blog, I share the connections of last years classes, and we read tweets like this for about a week. We learn to understand the importance of @ before a name, the types of things classes tweet, the meaning of a hashtag, and how to follow a conversation. We sit in these humble beginnings until the kids have a clear vision of the information shared on tweeter because I know understanding the possibilities is an important step in being a connected learner. 

Behind the Scenes of our PLN~
Building a classroom PLN needs a bit of behind the scenes work, nothing to difficult but, it does take a bit of advertising! I began by searching my PLN for teachers who tweet with their classes, tweeting out our classroom twitter account, @Frazier1st and inviting others to follow us. You can find global connections at #globalclassroom and by following #GlobalClassroom on twitter. 

What's all the "Tweting" about? 

Once students have an understanding of the learning and conversations shared on twitter it's time for us to start tweeting.  Early tweets are created through class conversation. We take time to talk about our responsibilities in sharing with a global audience, what we want to know and who might reply to our tweet. In these early days I would preview the feed and our mentions to look for tweets that best support our learning and replies to our tweets. This practices continues for a about a week but, once the replies begin coming in (and yes, occasionally I do a little background tweeting to get replies for the class but, honestly that isn't needed often). Soon the kids are spontaneously sharing their ideas for tweets! We tweet about learning and discoveries, talk with authors, collaborate globally and and share the things first graders say! 

What are the Students Gaining/ Student Understanding?
Through our PLN the students know we are better learners through collaboration, they see and hear there is a global audience. They direct questions to this audience, they know the world is listening and they know they will be heard. Students know the world is bigger than our classroom, they experience the many similarities between cultures and develop an understanding of the differences by talking directly with kids about their culture. I am so proud of of all the perspectives the kids have gained. 

Interested in blogging with your class? You may want to join Mrs.Wideen's Primary Blogging Community. 

My FIRST Storyify is embedded below so you can see more of our top tweets from the year. 


Katie Dicesare said...

I am very appreciative of this post Deb. I know I will be coming back to it again and again. I am off to GLobal connections for sure!

debf said...

Thank you for asking great questions and inspiring me to write. I really enjoyed thinking back on our year. As I read through the tweets I found many stories that made me smile.
Thanks for the smiles~