Can 1st graders tweet? Sure they can. Since our district opened up Twitter for teachers to use, I’ve been incorporating it into lessons. It allows kids to put their thoughts into a succinct statement, and it also connects kids with the world. We can send tweets out to Web 2.0 tools, organizations, or just a general tweet to get some help with a project.
Today, 1st grade came to the library to work on the conventions of writing and opinion/persuasive writing. I thought Twitter would be great for this because it would require the students to write 1 short sentence that used capital letters, punctuation, and persuasion. To start, we looked at my Twitter page to see what a tweet looked like and how tweets create conversations with people around the world. We talked about the 140 character limit, too.
Next, we read the books hello! hello! by Matthew Cordell and On Meadowview Street by Henry Cole. I chose these books because both have a hint of persuasion in them. The teacher and I had a conversation about how we wanted students to think beyond just “what can I get people to give me?”. We wanted their persuasive writing to be more about taking action or creating change. In hello! hello! , there is a theme of connecting with nature, spending quality time with family, and disconnecting from technology. In On Meadowview Street, there is a theme of caring for nature rather than destroying it and how small steps can inspire a community. As we read these stories, we talked about those themes to spark ideas for tweets.
Students then talked with a partner to put their idea for a tweet together. The tweet needed to be an opinion or persuasive thought connected to or inspired by the books. It needed to have capital letters and correct punctuation. Once they had their ideas, they moved to tables and wrote their tweet on a small sheet. The substitute teacher and two student teachers conferenced with students and then sent them to me when their tweet was ready. I gave it a final read, and if it needed some addition I sent them back to the tables. If it was ready, I tweeted it from my account @plemmonsa and tagged the library @barrowmc. I also added the hashtag #comments4kids so that the kids would hopefully get some feedback or responses on their tweets.
Within just a few minutes, we started getting some responses some fantastic friends around the country. Kim Keith @capecodlibrary and Sue Kowalski @spkowalski were the first to respond with some comments, questions, and even pictures to respond to the students’ tweets. They were so excited to see that their thoughts were being read by people around the world.
I plan to do this with the other three 1st grade classes soon.