Not every kid wants to make a Twitter account, but they can still learn about responsible use and the power of social media. Since my first post about TodaysMeet activity ideas was so popular, I thought it was time for an update on what my students have been doing.
After a jigsaw for Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller, students wrote Tweets with mentions and hashtags on a TodaysMeet. We projected it on he screen to discuss the historical relevance of the Tweets and connections.
2. Live Tweet an Event
Every year there's an event that the students can follow and use as subject for commentary. Whether it's an election, natural disaster, or new legislation, the students can discuss the developments for a few minutes each class or once a week and Tweet what they think about it. Try stems like "I see ... I think ... " for more structure.
3. Two-Minute Tweet
Read and Tweet every two minutes about what you are learning. This works well for jig saws and helps train students to take advantage of back channeling.
For listening and open discussion activities, I use a timer that lets us know when it's time for a Tweet. This keeps my airtime in check and allows students the time to write and read other Tweets. Realistically, they write once every seven to ten minutes.
4. Have a Twitter Conversation
This one works well for homework. Use a hashtag to organize a conversation over topics that relate to your students' lives. This is more difficult to do without excluding students who don't have a Twitter account and don't want one. If that's the case, use TodaysMeet. Students don't need to make an account or expose their full identity to the Internet.
5. Connect with Other Classrooms
The connected classroom of the 21st Century takes the opportunity to learn and share with classrooms in other states and countries. Perhaps you've thought about doing video conferences but don't know where to start. Schedule a video chat with a teacher in your Twitter PLN, and choose an easy topic to break the ice.
This could lead to several classes beyond your campus participating in a TodaysMeet discussion or Twitter chat, which will expand your students' concept of learning communities.
6. Current Events
TodaysMeet is a great place to keep a log of current events. Students can summarize the issue and include a short link to the article or resource. The stream can be embedded in a blog or site for easy access, and a PDF transcript can be made to keep the log long after the room closes.
7. Scavenger Hunt
Post clues in key areas of your school. Write the clue so students can connect concepts and themes with examples from the content and things they see on a regular basis. Once at the checkpoint, the students receive a list of related things to Tweet on TodaysMeet. This will require them to check which items have been posted before they choose something (i.e., a link to another class's AP World History site). Use QR codes to make it more interactive.
The example below is for a world story class. The first clue takes them to the the first checkpoint in the list. Each group of three students receives a different order so they can spread out. Students can respond on TodaysMeet so other students can find answers to the clues quicker.
Clue 1: If we had to carry pennies, we'd spend more than money paying our bills.
- Song Dynasty's use of paper money -- purchasing desk
- Silk Road -- store
- Capital city -- outside principal's office
- Reception is the Mongol Checkpoints
- Art rooms are China porcelain
- Agg shop -- camel saddle
- Guidance counselors are -- Ibn Battuta
- Connector hall is the crossroads of trade Constantinople.
- Chinese porcelain -- art room
Building a Sense of Audience
With 140 characters or less, students have to choose their words well as they share their ideas with a worldwide audience. It's important that they get this opportunity because it will train them to think about what they say and how they say it. This practice could mean the difference between responsible social media content that will help them land a job, or not.