Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Social Media Your Students Can Do

OK, so it's not really fair of me to use the title that I did, but I HOPE it caught your eye enough to be intrigued.

I try to focus a chunk of my time on is sharing out ideas that I've see or read about. I hope that activities I find are useful ... or maybe they are innovative ways of doing activities ... or possibly ways to better utilize the tech we have in our classrooms. Some ideas are well received. Others, I never hear a peep about.

If I'm being honest & upfront, this is not HOW to use social media, rather it is about how you can TURN social media into a productive and creative tool in your classroom. Writing doesn't always have to be paragraphs ... images in a report don't always have to be portraits ... critical thinking doesn't always have to take place in a huge time-consuming project ... conversations regarding tools in a program don't always have to be dry and lecture style ...

One teacher who entertains A LOT of my ideas is Beth Kingsley [@bethkingsley13- 3rd grade teacher who already does a fantastic job of incorporating tech in her room and trying out new ways to "do" school. 

Background: I read this on Twitter: [LINK to actual Tweet]

And I was INTRIGUED! I had to check out these Google Drawings @JenniferPeart used with her kiddos to make fake Twitter accounts for ... of all things ... the planet MARS! What??? In her tweet, she thanks Ryan O'Donnell, aka @creativeedtech, for his template.

Two of my FAVORITES! Templates and the recommendation from another teacher who has done it. 

Anyhoo ... Ryan's blog [LINK] has an entire page devoted to templates for "for student or teacher use".  How awesome! I shared this link with the teachers in the elementary buildings where I work.

Beth talked to me and said she was going to do the Twitter one for Groundhog Day! Of all things! But you know what? It is SUPER cool! Groundhog Day is right around the corner so it is timely. 

We decided to make a couple of adjustments to Ryan's template. We replaced the shapes for the "faces" with generic images in order to make it slightly easier for her 3rd graders to use the "Replace Image" option rather than resizing inserted images. And we made the landscape image, which is like the header, a gray image, again for easier replacement.  

Here's where it gets cool! These little "tweaks" allowed the students to focus less on the nuances of image sizing and more on critical thinking about who/what would "follow" their groundhog. The creativity of these 3rd graders to decide who would follow a groundhog? How do you come up with a Twitter handle for a groundhog - let alone his 3 followers? And the little blurb for the bio? Wow! I was a little stumped when I started to think about it ... but they came through!

Check it out! One image is of the template:

Ryan has several other templates that I have to take a second to share out. Please, please, please visit his site to see these amazing templates!

  • Harry Potter's "The Daily Prophet" - literally has a moving image of Hagrid and a video of Dumbledore and even the right color for the background of this newspaper.
  • Time magazine - at first, I thought it was just the front cover (which is amazing on it's own) but then I opened the template and it's a replication of the magazine. My thought = class report or possibly class newsletter?
  • My Summer by the Numbers infographic - such a cool way to wrap up a school year or a holiday break. 
Finally - Beth did this and so can you! You CAN use social media (templates) to inspire creativity in your classroom and have fun doing it. Ryan noted he'd love to see results of teachers using these templates in their room, so if you've been inspired and choose to use one of his templates, PLEASE tag him (@creativeedtech) and me as well (@kiefersj). I'd love to see them, too!

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