Using Google Forms And Wikispaces

If you have been following along with my recent blog posts, you know that I have been incorporating a classroom wikispace into my sophomore English class. The class is composed of students with very low reading levels. Thus far, they have really enjoyed the wikispace and I wanted to share two items (The second item will be featured tomorrow) that I have incorporated into the space that anyone can use in their own classroom wikispace.

The first item we use daily is Google Forms. Each day I create a new Google form and embed that form into my wikispace. The form has a prompt and a space to answer the question. You can select from a variety of response options such as, check boxes, multiple choice and text responses.

In the span of two days into the new trimester, my students have come into class, opened their laptops and logged on to the wikispace. I had them set their browser homepage to our class wikispace (NOTE: THIS IS A MUST! OR ELSE YOU WILL BE SPELLING OUT YOUR URL EVERYDAY!). Once the bell rings they read the prompt on the Google Form and begin working. Once they finish the prompt, they hit submit and their answer is sent to a Google Doc Spread sheet that I can view. It is simply amazing! When my students finish we have a brief discussion about their responses and this usually leads into our daily lesson. In the span of 10 minutes you have students reading, processing, responding,verbalizing and making connections. All the while, students are consistently engaged.

This also sets a great tone for the class and will help me organize for upcoming exams and quizzes. I can easily access the Google Doc Spreadsheet that contains all of their responses.

I really urge you to try this method if you have the ability to do so in your classroom. Here is an example of my “Do Now” prompt from today.

As I mentioned in my previous post, if you would like to join our wiki and observe the process, please feel free to contact me via e-mail. I will send you an invitation and you can be apart of the learning process. Let’s call it “Classroom Observation 2.0”.

My Letter To Parents

To Whom It May Concern:

This trimester in English Literature and Composition, my class will be taking a new approach to learning. We will be utilizing various technology resources to communicate, collaborate and differentiate instruction within our classroom.

Each student will be setting up their own free e-mail account for my classroom. We are utilizing the G-Mail platform through Google Applications. This e-mail will only be used for our class. I told each student that they will have the opportunity to communicate with me through this e-mail and I ask you to do the same regarding any questions or suggestions you have for this venture.

Secondly, I have created a classroom website that will only be used for my class. It is a completely separate platform from the school’s webpage, but serves many of the same functions. Our website is created through a wikispace. A wikispace is a site where we will communicate, collaborate and engage in a variety of classroom activities. The wikispace is a private platform and can only be accessed when you are invited by the organizer. I briefly showed the students how to use this site and informed them that they now will have 24-7 access to their classroom. If students miss class or are absent for some time, they can keep up with their work simply by accessing this site. All that is needed is a computer and an internet connection.

We have created classroom rules for this venture and on Wednesday, I had the students come up with their own rules for technology use in our classroom. They know these rules will be enforced and you can view our rules on the reverse of this page.

Finally, one of my primary goals for this venture is to include everyone in the learning process. I invite you to join our wikispace and become a part of the learning process. If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me or call me (e-mail and number to follow). If you would like to be a part of our wikispace learning community, please provide me with your primary e-mail address so I can send you an invitation to our page. Please provide your name, signature and e-mail at the bottom of this page.

Sincerely,

Mr. Andrew P. Marcinek
e-mail: amarcinek@boyslatin.org
Phone: 484-416-0424

Parent/Guardian Name (Printed):__________________________________________________________

Parent/Guardian Signature: ______________________________________________________________

Parent/Guardian e-mail:_________________________________________________________________

ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY FOR TECHNOLOGY

The Following Rules were designed by periods 1 and 2 at Boys’ Latin Charter School of Philadelphia

  1. No social network sites in school
    1. Myspace
    2. Facebook

  1. No games
  2. Laptops are not to be used for notes
    1. When teacher is talking, laptops are down
    2. Notes can be written and transferred to computer
  3. No Youtube unless it is being used for a presentation or reference
  4. No inappropriate searches for images
  5. Background must be a solid color


Consequences

  1. First policy offense – cannot use laptop for the rest of the day. Parents and Administration notified
  2. Second policy offense – cannot use laptop for the week and assignments will be done through another platform (i.e. pen and paper). Parents and Administration will be notified. Student will also have an after school detention.
  3. Third policy offense – student will lose laptop privileges. Parents, Administration, teacher and student will have a conference. Student will have to earn his laptop back by completing the following:
    1. Write a laptop reinstatement letter to teacher and administration detailing why they broke policy and why we should let them have their laptop back. **


**If student has his laptop reinstated and break a policy rule again, the laptop will not be used for the rest of the year.**

This is my letter to parents. I welcome your feedback and ask you to share your own experiences with incorporating technology into your classroom. How did you involve parents? Administration? What was the experience like with parents working within the website? I look forward to hearing your experiences and I plan on writing about mine as we progress in the classroom. Also, if you would like to join our wikispace and become an observer, please feel free to get in touch with me at the e-mail listed below.


Let’s make learning ubiquitous!

15 Slide Show Tools for Teachers

Slide shows are a great way to present information and engage students inside and outside the classroom. This article contains of list of 15 free slide show tools that would be useful to almost any educator.

Empressr – Empressr is a free multimedia tool that is virtually effortless to use. The tool creates, manages, and shares slide shows without limitations.

VoiceThread – With VoiceThread, teachers can create dynamic multimedia slide shows for students or colleagues to comment on. Comments can be made through microphone, telephone, audio file, text, or video.

SlideShare – SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing and managing presentations. The site allows you to upload presentations to the public or a private group of people.

Slideroll – This site offers free software for creating smooth slide shows that can be viewed by anyone with Internet access. Created slides can be published on the site or embedded in web pages, blogs, or emails.

PhotoPeach – PhotoPeach is a slide show creator that uses photos, text, and audio. This is a great tool for teachers who want to create entertaining slide shows within minutes.

Joggle – This free beta site allows users to manage and share photos, music, and video. Joggle provides the tools for quickly embedding slide shows into websites, blogs, and more without the use of complex coding.

Yugma – Teachers can use Yugma to upload and share presentations, collaborate in real-time, or host a web conference. This site makes it incredibly simple to make educational presentations for students.

Animoto – Animoto is an easy-to-use slide creator that offers unlimited videos to teachers. Within minutes of signing up, teachers can start creating custom slide shows of images, audio, and text. This site can also rearrange your photos to create a new slide or custom video.

Slide – This interactive presentation site features tools for creating slide shows, posting video, and creating an online group.

One True Media – One True Media offers a free subscription for teachers who want to upload and share images, music, and videos. This site also features special effects for a dynamic, personalized touch.

Vyew – This free web conferencing site provides tools for hosting presentations, webinars, or online meetings. Vyew also allows teachers to upload and create real-time courses and collaborative learning.

Vcasmo – Vcasmo is a rich media presentation solution designed for personal use and academic teaching. As soon as you sign up for a free account, you can start uploading images, audio, and video to create a personalized presentation or simply publish a pre-created PowerPoint presentation.

LectureTools – LectureTools is a free lecture and slide tool that can be used to engage students in lectures. The site provides tools to upload and organize slides, make notes directly on them, and post questions.

iWebPhoto – This site is a free image hosting site that allows you to create slide shows for embedding and sharing with colleagues and students. The free membership includes five free slide shows with 50 photos each that can be linked to websites and blogs.

Sliderocket – Sliderocket offers 250MB of free storage for slide show presentation and creation. This site also allows you to import, organize, synchronize, and share your presentations.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes about online degree programs for OnlineDegreePrograms.org.

Independent Reading 1.0


This was a discussion prompt that introduced my independent reading unit. We just finished a unit on the fundamental literary elements: plot structure, conflict, point of view, characterization, etc. Students will now be applying these skills to their independent reading. I’m sending them out into the literary seas in search of adventure and intrigue. NOTE: This lesson is very 1.0 but I will apply how one can make it a 2.0 activity.


The question: Why do we read fiction?


Eager hands abound!

Some of the responses:

“For Fun”

“To learn”

“To expand our imagination”

“To be taken somewhere”

“To learn about another place or culture”


Yes! It’s working; they understand the purpose of fiction!


I decide to challenge their thinking further.


The question: Those are all good answers, but why should we waste time reading books that are not true?


Students pause momentarily; I can see the critical thinking wheel spinning feverishly.


A HAND!


“We read fiction to travel somewhere we have never been and to experience something new. Like I have never been to China, but I can go there through the author’s perspective.”


I pick myself up since I just fell over from this brilliant response. This question ignites another burning mind.


“We read fiction, like to be taken, say to the past, when we wasn’t around and find out about different historical events through fiction.”


Eureka! I am loving these responses (save for the use of proper English).


This was my class today. I started with a simple question and challenged students with critical thinking. Mind you, these students are all below reading level and were anxious about reading a book outside of our required text. Maybe, it was the aesthetically appealing covers of many new books, or maybe it was the new found ownership they all half over their novel, but what ever the case, they were thinking critically before cracking the page and by god, THEY WERE ENGAGED!


This project is intended for 1.0 instruction. I am not utilizing any form of technology until I first get my kids to read. Their responses are all done…get ready…in a packet. I know, this term is a sacrilege and completely against everything iTeach stands for. However, in one of my previous posts I mentioned using goodreads.com and shelfari.com to foster summer reading. Both of these sites would serve as wonderful forums for housing your responses and tracking the progress of your students. Although these sites work well for the summer reading project, I would definitely transition my packet into a wikispace. This allows for students to post responses, collaborate in a discussion and track their progress. For my students, I would recommend having some form of tracking method that would reward efficient, not fast, readers.


Please let me know if you are doing independent reading through 1.0 or 2.0 methods. My colleagues in the 9th grade are all setting the course in this independent reading project and so far we have had great success with our 1.0 project. I look forward to hearing about different independent reading projects and what your experience has been whether you are a packet or a PC.

Going Off The Grid


The last blog post I composed was August 20, 2009. That was the day I fell off the grid. I fell far; I fell fast. And soon I was trying to find my personal learning network and wondering where everyone went. The party was over and I was back at work, teaching, grading, designing, engaging and performing several other topical buzzwords used in current edu-speak. I was no longer mentioned in Tweets and my direct messages were simply tumbleweeds drifting by in the wind. My comments and blog readership began to fade and I was no longer engaging in a community that had given me so much and inspired me to transform the way I teach in the 21st century.


Since I have last posted a lot has happened. William Safire passed away. He enjoyed buzzwords and was a columnist I looked forward to reading every Sunday in the Times. I grew half a beard a few times; thinking the exotic look of a beard would inspire me to write again. The Phillies lost the word series and all the while I was an inactive member of the personal learning network (PLN) I tried to promote so strongly in my previous posts.

I created the one comment a day project ning only to fall behind in my duties as chief executive commentator. I wrote the introduction to my book that I am attempting to write, only to stuff my edits in a drawer for that rainy day off that never came. I’ve continued to read blogs and visit TweetDeck occasionally to see what all my Tweeps are up to. It seems like they are having fun; it seems like they are really engaged in stimulating discussions about Web 2.0 in the classroom and redesigning 21st curriculum to meet the needs of the 21st century student.

So what happened? How does one fall off the grid so quickly?

I’m a teacher.

I teach, therefore my time is limited. My time is precious. I teach high school English by day and English composition by night at a local college. In between I browse hundreds of essays and paragraphs for run-ons, fragments and my all time favorite, dangling modifiers.

My free time is spent coming down from the day and relaxing with a cup of tea and some light harmonies. Going to bed at 9 pm seems practical, my DVR is overloaded and my Netflix canceled. I know! This is how I came to fall off the grid.


These are my challenges and this is where I came to fall off the grid.

So now what?

I’m using this blog post as my springboard back on to the grid. I want to tweet again! I want to get excited about 2.0 or maybe 3.0 learning. I want to revive the one comment a day project and make t-shirts! I want to write my book on web 2.0 curriculum and I want to collaborate with my Personal learning network! I want to transform my school into an environment where technology and education skip hand in hand down the hall. I want my students to read on level and I want to rediscover the power of my personal learning community!

This is me coming back to the party, head slightly down, but ready for acceptance back into the great collaborative environment of learners, educators and thinkers that became more than a tiny square icon, but inspiring voices in the world of education and beyond. I want to be there again, I want to collaborate and I want to plug back in to my Personal Learning Network.


Hello Animoto

Have you ever wanted your students to make a video for a class project but felt uneasy about the laborious process and the amount of class time it would take to accomplish this task? Fear not! Animoto is here to save you time and still give you the video your students can enjoy and share!

I have personally used Animoto for back to school nights and in my Language Arts classes to help students understand themes, characterization and symbolism within the novels we cover. Animoto is simple, easy and free for educators to use. All you need is a digital camera (or properly cited photos form the web), a laptop and an Animoto account for educators. Watch how simple it is…

Here are some ways you can utilize Animoto in your classroom

Create Novel Movie Trailers!

  1. Animoto utilizes “MTV Style” editing to show brief clips of a specific subject or theme set to music. This is perfect for gleaning the main elements of a novel or chapter you just read in class.
  2. At the end of the school year when you are reviewing for finals or mid terms (depending on your schools academic calendar) have the students make a brief Animoto video that they can use to
    1. Reflect on what the novel or unit was about
    2. Pick out the important elements of the chapter or novel

i. Main Points

ii. Characters

iii. Themes

iv. Symbols

v. Setting

    1. Tell them that their audience will be next year’s incoming class and they have to convince them that this novel will be an amazing read! Just like film directors would do with a summer blockbuster.
    2. If you want to stretch out this assignment and go a step further, visit http://www.bighugelabs.com/flickr/ and you can create movie posters for the novels.

i. You see what is happening here…Students are creating a product that requires them to use prior knowledge and also display that knowledge in a creative manner.

  1. As a teacher, you can show these videos on the first day of class next year. You can print out and hang up the movie posters of the novels on your bulletin board.
Here is how easy it is to create an Animoto video
and…
Here is what I just created in roughly five minutes

Creating Animoto Videos in other Disciplines!

  1. For Vocabulary words
    1. At the beginning of the Vocabulary unit have go over the list of words with your students as you normally would at the beginning of a unit.
    2. Have students define words, provide proper parts of speech and provide sentences (maybe 3 to 5).
    3. Students are arranged in groups of two. Each group will be given the following:

i. One digital camera

ii. One Vocabulary word

    1. Students will have to create an Animoto video for the word they are given. Students must include in their video:

i. The word

ii. The part of speech

iii. The definition

iv. At least two sentences

v. An image relating to the word

    1. Once the videos are created, the teacher will present the videos to the class and will serve as a brief review for the upcoming Vocabulary quiz.
  1. For Math teachers
    1. This would be a flashy way to introduce a new formula or problem. You can take the above examples and apply it to your discipline.
  2. For History teachers the possibilities are endless.
    1. In history class you could have students research an Amendment and make an Animoto video displaying the main points of that Amendment and also find images that represent that Amendment. This could work for numerous historical units:

i. Presidents

ii. New Countries covered

iii. Bill of Rights

iv. American Wars

  1. For Special Education and Life skills Teachers
    1. This would be a great way to show your kids how to perform a basic task such as raising your hand
    2. Students, with assistance, can find images of kids raising their hand in class. Students and teacher can assemble the images and even take a photo of the child performing the task, and compile them into an Animoto video.
    3. This could work with various life skills

i. Crossing the street

ii. Washing your hands

iii. Brushing your teeth

Again, this is another practical, easy to use application that every teacher and student can use. I hope this idea has helped to bring technology into your classroom and look forward to hearing how you are using Animoto in your classroom!

Power Who? Power What? Power Point!

Yesterday I posted on the great features of SlideShare. Today I received this response on my Ning…


Googledocs is better as it is more collaborative and allows the easy use of Youtube videos. Slideshare is merely passable as you lose all music, animations and video. At that point you might as well output your ppt as jpegs and drop them into a java slideshow which is essentially what slideshare seems to do.

While this author makes a valid point about the collaborative nature of GoogleDocs and the ability to embed video and animations, he fails to miss the – get ready to LOL at this intended pun – point of the intended nature of my students’ powerpoint.

Here was my response…

For the project I assigned above, my students were only allowed to use images and brief text to convey their idea. When you rethink the idea of a powerpoint what does a video, massive amounts of text and neat animations provide an audience anyway? If you are presenting it is YOU who is presenting the information, not the powerpoint. If you embed YouTube videos and animations then you might as well tell your students to create an imovie and let the students sit back and watch while the presenter joins in the viewing.

I want my students to be thorough with their research and knowledgeable presenters who can think on their feet and are well versed on what they are presenting. I alway show the first few minutes of Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” to help students understand what a good presentation looks like. The presentation should be the backdrop to the presenter not overly animated and visually distracting.

Nothing against Googledocs, but when you want students to PRESENT and not ENTERTAIN then have them use slideshare!

I’ll leave you with this from a former colleague of mine who was helping students rethink and redesign powerpoint…

If your students are presenting on hieroglyphics, which slide looks better to as an audience member? Which slide intrigues you more? Which slide requires more presenter involvement and knowledge?




or…



When I am sitting back in the audience grading a presentation, I want to see slide #2! I have created – back in the days of primitive powerpoint (insert golf clap for alliteration! Teaching moment!) – and have sat through numerous presentations using slide #1 and it is torture to an audience member.

Two years ago our assistant principal gave a powerpoint presentation using a stoic white backdrop that was flanked by default black text. Despite numerous misspellings, the powerpoint was a flop. A flop in the vein of The Love Guru.

My point is that no matter what housing forum we use to share and embed our powerpoints, we need to understand that powerpoint is a tool for a presenter; it is not intended to replace the presenter. As teachers we must also employ this same method when presenting to our students. Many times we don’t practice what we preach and torture our students with text laden powerpoints that go on for days.

The next time you create a powerpoint for your students, think about how it would feel to view the same powerpoint you just created. What effect will it have on learning? If you are just dictating notes via a powerpoint to usurp valuable class time, then simply give them a hand out or post the note filled powerpoint on your class wiki for students to view at home, take notes and then discuss the next day in class. This will surely save class time and your students will love you for it!

I’m not saying that SlideShare will change the way we present, but it gives us an option to display the powerpoints we want, while providing a central location for viewing and sharing them.

I hope this helps in your classroom and I always welcome feedback!




SlideShare is Everywhere!

Have you ever plugged in your flash drive into a laptop, opened a powerpoint presentation and it doesn’t work? Have your students ever done the same thing, and used technology downfall as an excuse to get out of presenting? Have you ever wanted to embed your powerpoint slides on a wiki to share with students and parents? If you answered yes to all of the above then I have your solution.

Slideshare is a site that allows users to upload, store and share powerpoint slide presentations. Slideshare gives you the ability to have your powerpoints at your disposal where ever you go and the best part is that it is totally free!
Last year while I was teaching 1984, I utilized slideshare with my students who were presenting chapters of the novel to the class. I introduced them to slideshare and they were able to upload their presentations and then post them on our class wiki. If you reference my earlier post on wikis in the classroom, you will see that I had students maintain a daily log of their work on the presentations. They had to provide progress, group tasks and any documents they would be handing out during their presentation. Here are two of the examples that students used via slideshare.



You will notice that once the presentations are embedded into your blog or wiki, they allow you to utilize most of the functions that is alloted in a presentation program. Also, teachers can utilize this with all of their presentations they use in the classroom. You can even email them to students if they missed a class in which you gave a presentation. Slideshare is also useful for professional development classes and workshops. It is one way in which you can share your presentations and student work without having to locate, find and sync a flash drive.
Students and colleagues alike can follow along with a slideshare presentation as well. If teachers embed their slideshare presentation to a blog or wiki, students and faculty can follow along on their laptops. This may assist students who have trouble following slides or if students wish to use the presentation as a study guide later in the unit.
I hope you enjoyed this idea and would like to hear feedback about how you utilized slideshare in your own classroom!

Evernote Will Organize Your Life!

Today I will be beginning my two part series for Earth Day! These two lessons will help you reduce paper usage in your classroom, library and school building, while educating your students with great web tools for research and presentation. However, be careful of jealous colleagues when you are suddenly viewed as the “green teacher”. I was told once that I was, “making everyone else look bad and ignorant.” This comment came after I began piloting my paperless classroom. I put a lot of time and effort into reducing paper in my classroom, only to be scoffed at by several colleagues who were not willing to…

  1. Try something new after 30 years of teaching
  2. Improve their classroom organization and reduce clutter
  3. Enjoy their prep period rather than spend it fighting with the copier

Enough about my ranting and on to the content for today! Go GREEN!

Today I am presenting a wonderful web-clipping tool that both teachers and students can use in a variety of ways. The tool is called Evernote. Evernote can be downloaded on to MAC and Windows operating systems and is completely free. This can also be used on smart phones and the iPhone.

Here is an introduction to the basic features of Evernote

Evernote allows you to gather clippings from various websites without having to bookmark every single site you enjoy. In short, you can select the text and photos that are of importance to you! So, let’s consider Evernotes practicality in the classroom.

Language Arts/History

Think about students doing research. The teacher gives his or her students a credible, academically authored list of websites. This list can be posted on the class wiki or moodle in order to save all the future trees that will be planted tomorrow! Students review the sites and find a piece of information they really like on George Orwell. However, time is running out and for most students they would immediately select FILE > PRINT. And what prints out? The entire web page! (Insert old school Mr. Yuck sticker here!). The student takes the 15 pages that just printed out, stuffs it into a folder and forgets that good bit he or she was reading right before the sound of the bell. This is the old way. Let’s have our students try the new way!

Art/Graphic Design

Let’s consider what an art teacher might use Evernote for…

Using Evernote in the classroom is always a great way to help students understand the importance of a “Tag”. Provide students with a mini lesson on tagging and how it can save them time when conducting research.

I hope this has been a valuable asset to your class and look forward to hearing how you use Evernote in your class!

Where for art thou Twitter!

I have been using Twitter for over a year. Since New Years 2009, Twitter has taken off to new heights. Everybody wants you to follow him or her on twitter, from United States Senators to Shaq, twitter has become a ubiquitous forum for those who want to know everything.

So, why is Twitter so cool? I still haven’t figured that out yet but it has become a forum for all of us to communicate and collaborate. So how can we utilize the concept of twitter in our classroom? Here are some ideas I am pondering…

…but first, let’s learn about Twitter in Plain English…

Language Arts

Objective: Have students twitter between characters in a story from the previous nights reading.

Process: Students will read chapter 1 of Lord of the Flies. After they read they will construct a twitter list between Jack and Piggy

This twitter list must include the following elements:

  1. Setting
  2. Characterization
  3. Context
  4. New Vocabulary
  5. A twitter screen name for Jack and Piggy that reflects their character.

NOTE: Entry can only be 140 characters long! Be specific and concise.

EXAMPLE

LeaderJack: Looks like we are stranded! Fat kid is freaking out. I call him Piggy.

TimidPiggy: There are no adults here! My Auntie says I should not go swimming because of my Asthma.

TimidPiggy: Where are the other boys. Found a coch shell – Raplh blew it and we found the other children

LeaderJack: Piggy wants order. I blew the conch shell and we gathered everyone.

LeaderJack: They elected me chief!

Have students read their twitter posts out loud in class and explain why they selected their material. Segue this into a class discussion. Compare and contrast postings from other students.

Social Studies

Students can make a twitter list for historical figures. Like the language arts example, students can glean the main points of a specific historical figure and use that to understand whom this historical figure is.

Activity 1:

  1. For homework, assign students a historical figure based on the current unit of study.
    1. NOTE: you can also use this to personify Amendments, Bills, etc. i.e. what would the First Amendment twitter about?
  2. Students construct a twitter list for the aforementioned assignments. Students must provide the following elements for their twitter list:
    1. A screen name that represents the personality of the figure, Amendment or bill. NOTE: it will be the roles of your classmates to guess whom you are referring to based on your twitter information.
    2. Organize your “tweets” chronologically.
    3. Provide context and information pertinent to your subject.

Students bring in their Twitter list and present it to the class. Students will try and figure out who is Twittering based on the information provided.

This is a great idea for a unit review and students can use their “tweets” as a focused study guide.

Activity 2:

This activity would target secondary and middle school students.

Objective: Have students create their own twitter account and follow a US or State Senator or Representative.

Process:

  1. Students find a US, State or local dignitary to follow on twitter.
  2. Students will follow what the dignitary is “tweeting” about and file a twitter report each week on whom they are following
    1. This could be a form of current events in the classroom.

Recommendations: Make sure you alert administration, parents and your tech director before allowing students to participate on twitter.

Mathematics

For math, teachers can use this tool very simply.

  1. Every night one student will tweet a selected math problem to the class.
    1. EXAMPLE: 32 + 43 = ?
  2. Students will have to answer the problem by the student posted for that night as an extension of the homework.

NOTE: Based on grade level, you can make your tweets more challenging. I see this working well with more involved math such as Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus.

Colleagues

I have always felt twitter would be an effective tool for teacher collaboration. Imagine a world where your entire school building is on twitter. Your principal opens up his twitter account every morning and can see what you will be covering in your classroom today. Maybe something peeks his interest and he sends you a direct message to ask if he could drop in to see this lesson. Cool right? Unless you don’t care for your principal and feel that he or she serves a better purpose at his or her desk then in your classroom.

Or imagine collaborating with other teachers on your own twitter account. Say you are covering Hamlet and a neighboring teacher is covering the same unit. You collaborate through twitter about what you are covering each day. Maybe even set up a web cast between your students where you can discuss Hamlet Act 1 Scene 1.

The above examples are simple blueprints of what you can do within the parameters of a twitter post. And you thought only celebs and Senators could twitter! Pshawh! Also, check out TWEETDECK. It is a great forum to organize all of your tweets on your desktop!

I hope these ideas peeked your interest and that you take leap and make twitter part of your classroom! I look forward to hearing your feedback and how you have used twitter in your classroom and school district!