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Twitter in the Classroom and Twitter Posters

I think it is fabulous when schools decide to intentionally use social media as part of the learning day.  I am working with a school right now that has hired me to help them do just that. A little background before I tell you how we are doing it: This is a kindergarten through eighth grade private school. There are three classes at every grade level up to fifth grade.  Sixth through eighth grade looks like your typical middle school with a variety of subjects and teachers.  Every classroom has a Promethean interactive whiteboard connected to a Mac Mini as well as two additional Mac Mini’s for students to use and a teacher MacBook.   Full disclosure, this is the school that I taught technology at for 7 years so they know what they are getting when they pull me in on a project like this!  When I was at the school, I used Twitter myself and created a school Twitter account and a school Facebook fan page.  I used think.com with my students to teach and model proper use of social media tools.  In September, the superintendent and communications manager for the school called me in to find out how social media could be used to tell others about the school. They wanted to build up the school community and tell the wider community about what makes the school special using social media tools.  I worked to help them understand that social media does not make a good broadcasting platform. What makes Twitter and Facebook work are the connections it enables and the stories it allows to unfold.  My recommendation to them was to bring the students in on telling that story, they have the most authentic voice, and a unique perspective within the school.  Because we are working with kindergarten through eighth grade students, creating student accounts was not an option, the majority of students at CHC are under 13 years of age.  My work around: create classroom accounts. I created a classroom account for every staff member in the school, all 58 of them! Next I connected each classroom Twitter account with a classroom fan page on Facebook.  I set up the Facebook fan pages so that commenting, photo, and video are turned off (this will be the case until teachers are comfortable enough and want to interact in both spaces).  The idea here is that parents who use Twitter and the wider education and local community will follow the classroom and school Twitter accounts. Parents who are not on Twitter but have Facebook accounts won’t miss out on any updates because the Twitter account is feeding into the page. Teachers will be using the classroom Twitter accounts with students to post updates throughout the day.  Posting will be done as a class using the Mac Mini connected to the Promethean board.  Classes will be using Twitter to reflect on learning, as a class they will share, reflect, engage, inquire, and report.  This doubles nicely as a form of informal formative assessment.  Classes will also use the  Twitter accounts to connect with other classrooms and experts.  Students will not be permitted to post to the accounts without teacher permission because of the Twitter age limit.  I wanted students to be involved in the tweeting not only for the learning opportunities, but also for the opportunity for teachers to model proper use of social media. The main school Twitter account will be used to retweet (RT) posts from the individual classrooms to the larger community, pass along school-wide messages and information, and as a point-point-of-contact for customer service.  Administration and school leaders will be tweeting their unique perspectives about what is happening in the school.  Together, CHC will be writing it’s stories of learning 140 characters at a time. Participation by teachers is optional. I presented the idea to the teaching staff at their last staff meeting using this Prezi.  I invited interested teachers to a Tweetup in a few weeks where we will meet up and learn about using Twitter.  I really pushed to make this optional for teachers, I didn’t want it to feel like one more thing for them to fit into their schedule.  85% of the staff signed up for the tweetup!  I am training teachers off site at a local coffee shop where it won’t feel so much like a typical tech training (hence the tweetup) :).  I’ll fill you in on all the details of that tweetup training in a few weeks. In the mean time, I have been creating posters for the classroom.  The school asked me to create rules for teachers to follow and rules for students to follow when using social media.  I also created posters with ideas for using Twitter in the classroom, authors using Twitter, a web of ed chats and hashtags on Twitter, and Twitter Lingo (Twingo).  I’m sharing these posters below, you can check out the original version that I made for CHC (branding and school hashtags included) and a version for any of you who are interested.  Feel free to download and print the 11×17 posters for your classroom.

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14 Online Interactive Advent Calendars

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Art, Create, Foreign Language, Fun & Games, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Music, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 30-11-2010

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It is December again, which means the beginning of Advent.  Advent calendars are a fun way to reveal information and “surprises” for your students to look forward to each day in December leading up to Christmas.  This year I thought I would make an advent calendar of my own using Wix.  I created a Web 2.0 advent calendar by choosing 25 of my favorite web 2.0 tools for the classroom.  Each day you can check out a new one.  (I’ll let you in on a secret, you can cheat and look at them all by clicking on the bird to get back to the calendar page…shh don’t tell anyone!)  You and your students can create your own custom advent calendar like I did using Wix.  Students can create an advent calendar of pictures of their school work, trivia for their parents, special audio notes, or anything they are learning.  To create your own Wix advent calendar, choose a template, add shapes to the template to create your calendar pieces, add 25 pages to the site, add links to those pages.  You could also create an advent calendar of your own using Glogster.  Create a customized advent calendar for your students with fun surprises, quotes, video clips, sound bites, etc.  It can be related to the learning they are doing in your classroom, suggestions of books to read,  or reveal special rewards like extra computer time, time playing a favorite game, time for reading, etc.  Be creative!

Woodlands Jr has a great online advent calendar every year that tests students knowledge about Christmas around the world.  The Woodlands Jr. 2010 advent calendar is now up and ready for viewing! This is a fun way for students to test their knowledge and learn about the ways that Christmas is celebrated all around the world.  As an extension, plot the places around the world that they are learning about on a world map.

BBC Radio has a fabulous Bach advent calendar. Each day your students can listen to a story about Bach or music.

The National Museum of Liverpool has an advent calendar that reveals a piece of art from the museum each day.

The Dirt Dirt advent calendar is purely fun, each day click on a number and an animation will be added to the tree.

For those of us who are app inclined, you can download a free app for your iDevice every day from Appvent Calendar.

Below you will find my interactive advent calendar finds from last year.  You are bound to find one that is a perfect fit for your class!

What it is: It is December!  This means the beginning of Advent along with the anticipation and excitement that it brings.  The Internet is full of interactive advent calendars that you can use in your classroom to teach about how the Christmas season is celebrated all around the world.  These advent calendars reveal fun facts, interactive activities, and stories.

Santa’s House Advent Calendar– This advent calendar tells a fun story.  Each day reveals another secret about what goes on inside Santa’s home on the 24 days leading up to Christmas.  In each picture, there is a little mouse hiding.  When students click on his ears, he jumps out.

Picture 1

Christmas Around the World Advent Calendar– Each day students click on the date to reveal a fun fact about how countries around the world celebrate Christmas.  The facts are accompanied by great illustrations and pictures.  This site shows up very small inside my Internet browser (Firefox).  To remedy this problem, click on “view” in your menu bar and choose “zoom”.  You may need to zoom in several times.

Picture 2

Christmas Mice Advent Calendar– This calendar tells the story about a mouse family who celebrates Christmas.  Each day a little more of the story is revealed.  Each picture includes some animation.

Picture 3

Santa’s Advent Calendar– On this advent calendar, each day reveals a new song or activity for students to complete. There are some fun Christmas themed mysteries to solve, stories to read, and activities to work through.

Picture 4French Carols Advent Calendar–  This is a French advent calendar.  Each day contains a new French Christmas carol sung by children.  This advent calendar would be a fun one to include in a study of Christmas around the world.

Picture 5

Christmas Around the World Advent Calendar Quiz–  This advent calendar tests students knowledge about how other cultures celebrate Christmas.  Each day students are asked a question and given hints to help them answer.  When the answer is revealed, students can click on links to learn more about the Christmas celebrations in that country.  This site also includes great activities and teaching resources for Christmas.

Picture 6

Christmas Advent Calendar– Follow the adventures of Zac the elf as he tries to find a Christmas present for Santa.  Each day a little more of the story is revealed.

Picture 7

Christmas Activity Advent Calendar–  This advent calendar has fun little games and activities to play each day.  The games and activities are quick and easy to complete, building mouse and keyboard skills.  This advent calendar would be a good one for the classroom computers as a center activity.

Picture 8

How to integrate Interactive Advent Calendars into the classroom: The season of Advent is always filled with eagerness and expectancy. Build some of that anticipation into your school day by allowing students to unlock a new secret on the advent calendar each day.  Use these advent calendars with the whole class on an interactive whiteboard or projector, or set them up as a quick center activity that students can visit.  Use the advent calendars that reveal a story to practice looking for foreshadowing clues, using context clues to guess what will happen next, or as story starters for students own stories.  The Christmas around the world advent calendars are wonderful for teaching students some of the history of Christmas and the way that other cultures celebrate the familiar holiday.

Tips: Each of these advent calendars has some fun goodies and hidden surprises, find the one that best fits your classroom needs.

Leave a comment and share how you are using Interactive Advent Calendars  in your classroom.

Comments (11)

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, ktenkely, Heather Mason, lmockford, Tracy Poelzer and others. Tracy Poelzer said: RT @ShellTerrell: 14 Online Interactive Advent Calendars http://bit.ly/f1ry7R by @ktenkely #edtech […]

Awesome resources. I love your Web 2.0 Advent Calendar! I’m sharing it with my teachers because it’s so fun. Thanks for all of the great sharing you do.

I love your Web 2.0 advent calendar. What a great way to share tools with educators. I also hadn’t heard of Wix.com- very impressive. Thanks for your dedication to educational technology.

Great resources, thanks for sharing! I’m involved in a different kind of online advent calendar using a blog to publish a different type of resource each day, see http://www.librarycraft.com/festive24things

It’s designed for anyone to join in as a bit of fun and to introduce people to new tools they may not have heard of, by using the festive theme. I can see how this could easily be applied to a classroom setting also, and the great thing with blogging software like WordPress is that you can schedule posts in advance (similarly you could do a smaller scale version by simply scheduling 24 tweets with links to resources).

We hope people will join us in our festive adventure through web tools, please feel free to subscribe to the blog or follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/festive24things

Jo, thanks so much for sharing your resource of the day, what fun!

Thank you Karen. Yes, Wix is a wonderful way to build a flash website that looks impressive in no time.

Thanks for passing it on Tiffany!

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I’ve enjoyed our blog very much. Thanks for all the great ideas.
retired educator
founder, educational nonprofit

Thanks for all the great tips!
I came across this online advent calendar of the public Czech TV; it has a nice educative ideas – comics on Baby Jesus, info on Christmas related music and paintings, educative games…. http://advent.ceskatelevize.cz/

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