Twitter Lists for the Global Read Aloud

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I have not had much use for Twitter lists since joining in 2011. Lists are either public or private groups of Twitter users. They are usually grouped by interest, grade level, or discipline. Twitter lists are created by someone who wants to find specific information from learners who are considered resources in an area. For the most part, I only subscribe to Twitter lists for my Flipboard account.

However, I think the Global Read Aloud could be a great way to utilize lists on Twitter for new participants. The Twitterverse can be a scary place. It’s not like Facebook, where you can pick and choose who you follow and who follows you in that forum. With Twitter, anything you post is out there. This can be a significant leap of faith for educators that have not tried social media before.

Therefore, I created four Twitter lists, one for each of the four books teachers are reading aloud to their students in 2013. See below and click on the list link that applies to your interest:

Stupid Fast (grade 8 and up)

Out of My Mind (grade 4 and up)

Marty McGuire (grade 1 and up)

Eric Carle (grade K and up)

If you are interested in becoming a member on this list, just reply to me (@ReadByExample) and I will be sure to add you to the list of your choice. Next, subscribe to this list so you have ready access to all members.

What’s next?

This part is up to you, but I have a few suggestions:

  1. If you are new to Twitter, read other classrooms’ tweets on your respective list. As an example, this feed can be projected on the whiteboard as kids come in during the morning, or only during your read aloud time. Observe how more experienced “tweeps” post online. Notice what types of posts get replies and which do not.
  2. Prepare your own first tweet. This can be as simple as “Hey, we finished the first two chapters of Marty McGuire!”. Seeing your students’ words online is a pretty awesome experience in the beginning. If there are nerves about being grammatically correct, maybe write out what you want to say on paper first (under 140 characters, of course:).
  3. Visit the list every day. Your class doesn’t have to post daily, but at least consider reading what other classrooms have to say. Maybe even reply back. This practice, of reading digital text and other students’ work, is actually an important skill tied to best practice and the Common Core. If you need more academic justification, just tell your principal that the 140 character limit is a great tool for modeling summarization.
  4. Let your parents about what you are doing. Families love knowing what is going on during the school day. Work and other obligations prevent many moms and dads from volunteering in schools today. Giving them a window into your classroom through Twitter can increase parent involvement and help develop that essential relationship between home and school.
  5. Document your learning on Twitter by utilizing Storify. This web tool allows you to collect your tweets over a period of time and publish them, on Storify, your school website, or a classroom blog. What’s cool about Storify is you can add text between the collected tweets. This gives you an opportunity to reflect with your students on your learning and share it with a broader audience.

I cannot think of a better opportunity to start getting connected than through the Global Read Aloud. Using Twitter lists to connect with other classrooms is an excellent way to take that first step toward 21st century learning.

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is a 17-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th grade teacher. After seven years of teaching, he served as a dean of students, assistant principal and athletic director before becoming an elementary principal in Wisconsin Rapids. Matt is now an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District (http://mineralpointschools.org/). Matt tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD (www.ascd.org) and Lead Literacy (www.leadliteracy.com).

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