A few weeks back I came across a notable idea on Lori's blog, Conversations in Literacy. (She actually has MANY notable ideas, so check her out!) Her students were responding to their reading via *Tabletop Twitter*. Lori had posted this image to accompany her post:
Needless to say, my mind's idea-lightbulb began shining brightly. I decided to try out a version of Lori's activity with my students. It was a big success and really sparked the students' interest. Boy, were they engaged! It's amusing how the students, who usually are hesitant to write, jumped at the chance to grab a pencil and get started because it was on a *Twitter board*. Note, the board was just a large piece of blue butcher paper. :)
My students are already familiar with and enjoy using Twitter, since they take turns being my *Twitter Pal* each week. They tweet the events of their group's happenings using our @TeamNoffsinger account. However, none of them were familiar with the process of Twitter chatting.
We first discussed the format of authentic Twitter chatting. I showed them how I labeled each question with Q1, Q2, Q3, then showed them how to label their answers with A1, A2 and A3 to keep track of which response was for which question. Each of my RtI groups that participated in this activity was given three questions based on the book they were reading. As you may have noticed in the pictures above, the hashtags I used for each Tabletop Twitter Chat included part of the title from their book, as well as #iRead and #iWrite.
So we could keep track of who was commenting or responding, the students created their own Twitter handle which was just the @ sign in front of their name: @Juliet, @Joey, etc. After each student wrote their response to a question, they'd rotate spots and draw a box around the answer they wanted to comment on. This was our "Retweet & Comment" routine. Reading their peers' responses and writing comments really provided them with a sense of authentic audience.
When I began hanging their chats in the hallway outside of class for others to view, I realized the pencil comments weren't showing up very well. We ended up tracing back over the comments with marker. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again! Right? My tip for those interested in trying this activity with your students: Have the students use markers to write!
After tweeting about this activity and posting the idea to Instagram, I was able to inspire at least one PLN friend. Thanks to Lori for inspiring me, so I could pay it forward. :)
Well, there you have it! A simple, yet, engaging activity to get your students to respond to their reading and their peers in writing format.
Have a great weekend!