Originally, I was going to teach 8th graders this year. I had plans to have them using Twitter to reflect about what we were doing in math class. I had the same students as 7th graders and we were blogging, but was excited for them to all cross the threshold of age 13, so they could use Twitter.
Towards the end of the summer, it was determined that I would be teaching 6th grade. There are many things that I absolutely LOVE about 6th graders, but I was a little disappointed that their age would prevent me from asking students to create Twitter accounts.
I read a post by Alice Keeler that suggested using a google form to collect responses from students, and explained you could limit the number of characters, similar to how Twitter limits characters. This inspired me to try it! If I could have students submit "tweets" to me, I could curate them and add to a class twitter page.
I've been trying it and it works great! Here is how I do it:
1. Create a twitter account for your class. Mine is @6Amath
2. Create a Google Form. I ask students for their name, period, and tweet. Here is what mine looks like:
3. When adding the text box in the google form for the tweet, click on Advanced Settings
4. Add a maximum character count. Twitter limits the tweet to 140 characters. I want to add two hashtags to the end of student's tweets (#6Amath and #FMSpride), so I subtracted those characters and spaces and gave the kids a 122 character limit.
5. Share the Google Form with students. You will get their responses in the form of a spreadsheet.
6. Read the students responses and choose some to copy and paste to your Twitter account. If there is enough room, I like to add the student's first name and last initial to the tweet to give them credit for the tweet.
A couple of things I've noticed, is it can be easy to just add the really positive about math tweets. Avoid the temptation to censor too much. Of course, I'm not posting every tweet, first there are too many! But, I'm challenging myself to add tweets that are honest, such as the one above that talks about not liking math. If I want this to be authentic for the students, I'm going to include those tweets too. Creative, funny, silly, positive, negative (but appropriate), and reflective-- those are the tweets students write and the tweets I want to include.
I'm also avoiding adding my own tweets or comments. If a student says something interesting, I tweet it from the class page and then retweet (with my own comment) using my own Twitter account. Again, even though students don't have official access to this account, I want it to be as authentic as possible and really represent their voices and their voices only!
**check out how to have students see a Twitter feed without having a Twitter account here.