Twitter Books: An Evolution Of Our Thinking

Why Use Twitter Books?

Welcome to the 21st century classroom. Well, sort of. Twitter Books are a low tech version of Twitter.  We are bringing “social media” to the classroom by using marble notebooks. Children can “tweet” their thinking around text, both written and digital. Just like Twitter, children are limited to 140 characters, so they need to discriminate what they really want to say. They can make an illustration or use quotes that demonstrate what their thoughts are in the moment. This offers a context for children to become more efficient with “stop and jot” and yields some formative data for us to work with. We are seeing what children truly think is important and this helps us teach into what they need.  It also reveals what children really like helping us build relationships with them.

21st Century Literacy Skills

Twitter Books are a device that brings 21st century literacy skills into the classroom, a way to bring emergent connectedness. These early experiences build community through collaboration. They started as a way to respond and connect ideas within the classroom and have evolved into a meaningful way to respond to reading at home. Homework in the 21st century ought to be something worthwhile, something children want to do that will foster a sense of student ownership over reading and writing. Then homework is not a chore; instead, it enhances the student’s own thinking that is driven by their own volition. It is important that we connect this idea between school and home. The Twitter Books are a natural fit for beginning our school day allowing for authentic engagement with written text. Children come into the classroom eager to exchange their books so they can “tweet” and leave their responses to their friends’ thinking.  It sparks authentic interests in books and is the best motivator to reinforce thinking about reading.  An added benefit is it encourages wide reading, children want to read each other’s books.

Innovating Twitter Books

As with all ideas, it’s time for us to reflect on our thinking and plan next steps for Twitter Books.  It’s a new version, time to go digital.   We were thinking about Cornelius Minor and his work around digital literacy.  Why not experiment with tables on our share drive.  Our school does not have WIFI but we could do this work in the computer lab.  We can show a digital text or do a read aloud and have children tweet.  Of course, there will be wait time so that children can negotiate the text and complete their responses on the computer.  This will also help them with keyboarding, an authentic example of how to bring in 21st century skills.  We will let you know how it goes. Here is a resource we are thinking of using for this project: The Kids Should See This

We are trying to imagine what work in the future will be like by embracing the world of today.  Years ago, collaborative work was limited by access and location.  We are no longer limited by location, we have access to our greatest resource, each other. We are happy our colleague  in Kentucky (formerly New Jersey) Justin Dolci @jdolci  will be launching Twitter Books in the fall with his third graders!  

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