If students learn to tweet in the primary grades, is it possible we may begin to see an improvement over time in students' writing skills and overall attitude toward writing? I believe Twitter, if properly implemented, can support writing and reading instruction and promote a love of writing. Twitter in the elementary classroom can be essential for establishing the mind-set for students that they all have something worthwhile to say in writing, and there are actual readers of all ages, i.e., parents, family, teachers, administrators and even other students, who are eager to read what they say. For various reasons, writing can be a difficult task for so many students, and for teachers it is often difficult to teach, but what if Twitter served as a teaching aid to motivate reluctant writers and thinkers. What if students had daily Twitter tasks to show them at an early age that:
- writing allows us to express our thoughts, emotions, experiences, imaginations, etc.
- writing allows us to connect with others.
- writing does not have to be perfect; we can always correct our errors.
- writing does not have to be a tedious, isolated activity, but can be interactive.
- writing involves careful editing and revising.
- writing involves careful deliberation of our words, grammar and punctuation.
- writing impacts and influence others.
Twitter can become a teaching tool to instill a positive mind set about writing, and help young students internalize how writing is an essential aspect of communication, involving careful attention to so many language arts skills. Rather than assigning writing prompts with the teacher as the sole reader, Twitter can enable students to directly and concisely communicate in writing with an authentic audience and an unlimited number of readers. Although a tweet is 140 characters or less, tweets can serve as a springboard for lengthier writing tasks and with proper teacher modeling and coaching, students can see the impact, influence and power their words have on others as they create content and receive tweets. Twitter can revitalize writing instruction and inspire students to take on lengthier writing tasks if we use Twitter to build students' confidence in their writing skills. Twitter can also support grammar instruction if we use tweets to model mini lessons on specific grammar traits. No need to teach grammar in isolation anymore; when composing tweets, students see, revise and edit a specific grammar trait in action.
Please check out this insightful article: "Twittering About Learning" http://www.essentialschools.org/resources/451 where one teacher describes his experiences with Twitter in the elementary classroom. Read how this educator has created student Twitter opportunities to tweet audio clips using Chirbit.com to support reading instruction. Students practice their reading fluency, phrasing, intonation, and rate and record themselves reading a text. They record their read alouds using Chirbit.com, and then use Twitter to share the chirbit.com audio clips with their Twitter followers http://www.chirbit.com/room302. Check out his students' tweets and the many ways he uses Twitter Classroom Twitter: http://twitter.com/room302. I would love to hear how are you using, or how you plan to use Twitter in your elementary classroom.
Here are my A to Z twitter tasks for the elementary classroom, and a video by Elbert Chu on how Tots Tweet In Kindergarten!