Only a few days into the school year fourth grade students learn about social media and getting their thoughts on paper using 140 characters or less. They also learn about what they should and should not post online.
Writing practice tweets on blue cards is one activity that students do while given time to think before they write. The cards line one of the classroom walls. Jaleb Tesh wrote a tweet about email addresses being personal information that should be kept private, an idea he got from his teacher.
“I think it’s hard to put all of my thoughts into one sentence,” Jaleb, 9, said about tweeting in an interview moments later.
Around the end of next month, the students will begin a new classroom duty, maintaining a protected classroom Twitter account that teacher Lindsay Lawrence plans to use to have them share “smile moments” about their experiences inside and outside the classroom. Lawrence will assign the task to a new student each week with tweets ending with a hashtag unique to their classroom.
“It’s cool that you can just click on the hashtag and it takes you straight to the conversation,” said Madison Nally, also 9.
Katie Hutchinson, one of three e-learning coaches in Greater Clark County Schools, told Lawrence and the class Monday morning that tweets can be compiled into story form using the social media platform Storify, allowing students and their parents to look back on a particular week or event.
“We want teachers to tell their stories. And we want students to tell their stories because someone is going to tell their stories if they don’t,” said Hutchinson, who previously taught English at Jeffersonville High School and in Indianapolis.
Each Northaven teacher has a Twitter account and more are expected to begin classroom accounts, said principal Tonja Brading. District spokeswoman Erin Bojorquez said Josh Emily, a teacher at Utica Elementary, also has started a classroom account.