Teaching kids to use Twitter responsibly for class discussion

Students use their phones to communicate on Twitter during class time. It's more inclusive this way

Students use their phones and laptops to communicate on Twitter during class time. It’s more inclusive this way

What started last year as an experiment, has now blossomed into a two classroom collaboration expanding conversation literally through the wall.

Yesterday, I sent the following email to my students:

“Hi all:

Found this article: http://ti.me/16u1sLP  – Please read it or have access to it for tomorrow’s class…

Here’s what we will be doing:

First you will read and annotate the article – write down anything that really makes you think or question.

Next, decide whether or not you agree with the article and WHY- give specific reasons.

You will make at least 5 original posts about the article that make specific reference to what you wrote down. (Feel free to ask questions as a part of your original 5)You will comment on at least 3 people’s commentsComments should add value and thought… I agree or disagree is not enough…you must always explain why –

Return to the specifics of the article whenever possible.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #pfwjps – this will be our class hashtag always.

Please have an appropriate, class twitter account made by class tomorrow.”

See you then… bring a device (anything internet enabled).” (end email)


Here is the chart paper I shared with students to refresh their memories of some of the protocols for class use of Twitter

Today when they returned to class it was time to make the magic happen. Most of them haven’t done this in class before, some haven’t even chatted on Twitter before, so it took a little longer to get everyone settled in. I anticipate a much smoother transition next week.

Twitter Chat Fridays are now a thing in our publication finance classes. It’s a way to get all the students talking to each other about what’s going on. Right now we are planning the curriculum together which was the rationale behind the article chosen. In the future, the students will be selecting articles and leading the discussions themselves.

The students were very engaged today even with some of technology snafus and related challenges. They eagerly discussed the article and participated fully.

They shared insightful comments like, “If our school would have this program, I feel like most of the people would be more engaged to learn


Tagged: , , , , ,


I have been using Twitter in my class this way but maybe not as much as I would want. I have used it for kids to interact with kids from other country. It is truly engaging! I will be using it on Wednesday during Science presentations for students to backchannel. My students are pretty proficient at Twitter so this is a risky move but I've decided to give it a go and see how it works. Plan for the future would be have kids tweet during a Discovery Channel (or the like) interesting documentary. Sounds more engaging than having them write a paper, definitively.


@JosePopoffI completely agree and love that you are using Twitter in this way. We should plan a chat with the kids at some point. What hashtag will you be using on Wednesday? I'd love to check it out :)


We definitively should plan it.  Today we are using the hashtag #sunsen16.  It is taking place at approximately 8 am US central time.  Wish me luck! :)


  1. […] Teaching Kids to Use Twitter Responsibly for Class Discussion and Twitter Chats Compliment Class Discussion […]

  2. […] b8 Teaching kids to use Twitter responsibly for class discussion | Starr Sackstein, MJE, NBCT […]

  3. […] Teaching kids to use Twitter responsibly for class discussion (Starr Sackstein) […]

  4. […] possible, the answer is Twitter. This is the second year that I’ve been successfully using Twitter in my classes to facilitate classroom […]

  5. […] alternative ways to participate. Sometimes we use Twitter Chats in class instead of spoken […]