Twitter has opened the door of possibilities for my 1st grade classroom over the past year and a half. My students have had the chance to learn from students all over the United States and Canada. We have shared our passion for learning by tweeting and sharing pictures about what we are doing in our classroom. Others have commented on our tweets and asked deeper questions which has given my students the opportunity to share even more. Having an authentic audience has inspired my students to work harder and to continually ask if they can share out what they are learning and creating. The possibilities for using Twitter in the classroom are only limited by your imagination. This year, my class took part in International Dot Day, a collaborative book chat (#1bc15), weekly math challenges (#1mtgr), a Lucky Charms graphing project (read about it here), and even a pumpkin seed counting activity via Twitter with a class in Oshawa, Canada. You can read about that experience in this post.
Although Twitter was the starting point for all of these collaborations so much more came out of these experiences. In many cases, my class also met the other classes face to face through Skype or a Google Hangout. We even participated in a collaborative Kahoot quiz at the end of the year with 3 other classes all from different states.
As technology brings the world closer together, we as teachers also need to get on board and bring our classes together. We have so much to learn from each other! I work in a small, somewhat rural area with very little diversity. Many of my students are not fortunate enough to travel and realize the diversity that lies outside of our area. By giving my students these opportunities they are are beginning to realize that the world is a much bigger place and that kids around the world are really not any different than they are. They are learning similar things in school, they love to play on the playground, they have brothers, sisters, and pets, and they all seem to love eating pizza. I feel that by providing my students these opportunities, I am also in some small way helping to break down stereotypes and fears and helping them to become accepting of all people no matter their background, location, etc.
We live in a time that if you're not connected, you're missing out on so much the world has to offer you. If you haven't used Twitter with your class, I highly encourage you to take the leap of faith and give it a try this year with your students.
If you're ready to take the leap, please add your class Twitter information to this shared document, http://bit.ly/1VHaocQ The document is broken down by grade level so you can better find classes to collaborate with.
If you're still on the fence and want some more information, feel free to reach out to me via Twitter, @smalchow, or send me an email (my contact info is in the sidebar)- I'd be happy to chat with you. I'm also doing a presentation on Twitter in the Classroom next week and will be posting my presentation here if you're interested.