Really? Twitter with Kindergarten students? That was my first reaction. While I think Twitter is a great way to connect and share ideas, I didn’t really see it as a tool for our youngest learners.
So, I have learned something.
I first learned about the project via Twitter (of course) last Friday. From the Hollyburn Elementary School Twitter account came:
This tweet is a great example of why all superintendents need to be on Twitter. It is such a great way to see a sampling of the work going on in the district. It is such a wonderful way to ‘drop in’ on the learning in various classrooms and schools across the district. It was this tweet that led me to be in the class three days later — a great way to take advantage of our connected world.
So, back to my reservations. When I first heard a kindergarten class was tweeting, my mind jumped to all that could go wrong instead of all that could go right. In a controlled environment, guided by the teacher, these young students are learning about digital literacy. Their parents, many who are also new to social media, engage with them in the class and the students can connect to the world!
When I visited the class earlier this week, I learned of parents that were now following the class, and a great home / school connection. It was wonderful to learn with the K students about their Happiness Project and how they were sharing it through Twitter with the world. On day two of the project, the lessons were already very impressive.
So, what do K students tweet about? They are tweeting because they are happy; to spread happiness around the world and to communicate and connect with people outside their classroom. And, they have adopted a simple rule when deciding to tweet, one everyone can learn from: “if it is helpful, tweet it; if it is hurtful, don’t tweet it.”
The students were completely engaged in their Happiness Project, and the use of Twitter was part of the hook and a great introduction to social media. If we want students to engage ethically with social tools, we need to teach and model and that is just what I saw happening in the classroom.
I look forward to virtually following the Hollyburn Happiness Project and the many other classes and schools sharing their learning beyond the classroom walls through Twitter with a range of other social tools.
The Hollyburn story is another fine example of a teacher taking a risk and being a learner herself!
It is always great to see what is happening in our classrooms.