Archive for March, 2011

Facebook and Summarization

The difference between using twitter and facebook is that Facebook statuses can be longer than 140 characters.  But keep in mind that facebook statuses should not be paragraphs of information.    Facebook posts are written to express your thoughts or opinions to you friends so a post should not read as if it is a report written for your teacher.  Most students have a facebook account or have at least seen or heard of facebook.  While using facebook is not advisable, you can take advantage of it’s draw to motivate students in your classroom.  This can be done with one computer and a projector or with multiple computers.

 Here are some ideas to have students summarize with using facebook in mind:

  • Write a status update from a historical perspective or from the perspective or a character in the novel or an element in science
  • What would Columbus have posted after landing in the New World?
  • What would Robert E Lee’s posts been during the Civil War?
  • What would Peeta have posted after the first day in the Hunger Games?

 Other ideas using facebook:

  • Respond to a status update – Show a sample status update on the board and have the students respond to it from different points of view:
    • Read King George’s status update after the Boston Tea Party – how would Samuel Adams have responded?
  • RolePlay – have students/classes assume different characters and interact with each other in a facebook like environment such as edmodo – or in a forum within moodle.

Ways to play this out in the classroom:

    • Roles assigned to each class period – As a class look at the postings on the screen and decide the best response
    • Roles assigned to different teachers  – Interact with different classrooms as a class – partner with teacher who teaches your same grade level/subject in the building or find classes outside of the building who will assume a character adn interact with your classes
    • break the class into groups and have the groups assume a character and decide together how to interact
    • Roles assigned to different students


Resources to make this happen:

  • Create a non-interactive fake facebook wall for a character
  •  Secure Social Networking Site for schools – – Create your own facebook like environment and have kids use the characters name as theirs to make posts.

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Twitter Part 3: Taking it a Step Further

So far the talk has been about composing a summary statement.  What about having a conversation?  Twitter is a place where ideas can be thrown out to the world and others can respond.   So how can be that used in the classroom?

Ideas for twittering in the classroom:

  • Role Playing Tweets: Have the class take on the role of a famous person or literary character and then compose tweets from that point of view.
    • What would the framer’s of the constitution have tweeted while negotiating the Bill of Rights?
    • What would the states have tweeted as the Union began to fall apart leading up to the Civil War?
    • How would Scout have reported on the trial in To Kill a Mocking Bird?
    • Choose a pivotal point in a story and have the characters send out tweets  reflecting on the events and/or predicting events to come
  • Class Discussions:
    • Summarize lab results
    • Discuss examples of a scientific theory in real life
    • Discuss math in real life
    • Class could discuss a novel, an event, or topic
    • Have people choose sides of a debate and send in tweets to promote their side
    • Students could ask questions about the unit being studied and others could post answers.

Scaffolding (easing it in)

  • Have the entire class create the tweet and post it.
  • Have each class period take on a character and post from that point of view to the other class periods.
  • Tweet between classes in the same class period.  If Mr. Jones and Mrs. Smith have classes 2nd period studying the same topic, the teacher could have the chat on the projector screen and as a class you can decide what messages to send.  This could also include classrooms outside of your own campus.
  • Divide students into groups and have the groups compose statements and responses to send.
  • Have each student assume a character and post responses

Tools to Make it Happen:

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Twitter and Summary – Part 2

So yesterday I shared the idea of using 140 characters or less to summarize on paper.   If you would like to continue this thought using technology here are a few ideas:

  • If you want to create the look of a actual tweet check out: – enter in the given info and it creates apage that looks similiar to an actual twitter page.  This could also be a great writing prompt.  have the Tweet posted on the screen and have students respond to the tweet. 
  • If you have access to computers check out TodaysMeet: – you can create a temporary chat room and have the students go to the url and enter their summary in the chatroom.  each response is limited to 140 characters.   This way students can see each other’s messages.   You can decide if you want the chat room to last a few hours, a few days, a week all the way to a year.   No email address is required.  Chat rooms can be saved in transcript form to have a record of who said what.

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