This is Day 23 of 31 of the Slice of Life Writing Challenge by www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com. I started following educators on Twitter last April as soon as I became a Twitter user. Due to people whom I follow on Twitter, I am just a click away from Professional Development. There is always someone sharing a thought, website or idea on Twitter that has led me to seek out their comment and explore the resources that they provide. I also glean and absorb as I join in with Twitter Chats. Students need to be able to communicate clearly via social media such as Twitter so I have put together lessons on how to teach them to tweet. Today I will share a digital storytelling tool known as Fake Tweets!
I love the Fake Tweet tool at Classtools.net. It allows students to create a 140 character tweet, but has the words “Twister” at the top of the page instead of Twitter. Students would not be typing in Twitter so no real Twitter account is needed. There are so many other fabulous writing tools at Classtools.net, but I decided to focus on the Fake Tweet tool.
My 4th grade students have been exploring the people and events involving the Edenton Tea Party which took place in a coastal North Carolina town called Edenton in 1774. In case you haven’t heard, historians believe that it was the first organized political protest by women in the American colonies. My students researched this event by reading about it at various websites including a PDF from the North Carolina Museum of History. Here is a link to it: http://www.ncdcr.gov/Portals/7/Collateral/database/nie08.edenton.tea.party.pdf
Students also found names of the original 51 women who attended the Edenton Tea Party which was organized by Penelope Barker and whose husband worked as a colonial agent for the King of England in N.C. in 1774. Penelope Barker had been inspired by the events of the Boston Tea Party and went door to door asking women to join her at the home of Elizabeth King to protest the King’s Tea Act which demanded that colonists only purchase tea from the East India Tea Company which, by the way, was partly owned by the King. The women gathered, wrote a letter of protest to the King, signed their names, sipped on tea that they had made from mulberry leaves, and burned any remaining tea that they had from the East India Tea Company. These ladies took a stand and decided to boycott tea from England to draw attention to the monopoly that the King and his company had on colonists.
My students will be pretending to have been at the Edenton Tea Party and writing a script for themselves to read aloud into the 30 Hands app. They will choose an image representing the Edenton Tea Party after doing a Google Advanced Image Search, then will record their voices describing the event while they read their script. They will also create a fake tweet from the women who attended the event and from Thomas Barker, the husband of Penelope. They will import the Fake Tweets into the slides that make up their 30 Hands app presentation. Crafting a 140 character tweet will be a challenge since Fake Tweets will cut them off at the end of 140 characters.
I made two tweets to show students and have placed them below. I will have students launch into Classtools.net using iPads, tap on Fake Tweets, then impersonate an Edenton Tea Party woman or Thomas Barker by generating a Username, composing a 140 character tweet and typing the year. They will save the image and insert it into their 30 Hands app presentation. Students don’t need to create an account in 30 Hands app to be able to use it. Their presentations in 30 Hands app can be saved to the iPad’s camera roll then inserted into an iMovie. I will have students reply to Fake Tweets that their classmates create from the perspective of a London newspaper who made fun of the women for being involved in politics in the 1770’s. Fake Tweets will continue as the Edenton Tea Party attendees respond back through a Fake Tweet. Multiple perspectives will be explored through this unique writing experience!
The possibilities are endless as students create Fake Tweets from the perspective of historical figures. My students have also studied the Greensboro, N.C. Sit-Ins during the 1960s. I also plan to have them make a 30 Hands app and/or Fake Tweets from the Sit-Ins. In addition, they could create Fake Tweets from the perspective of the Wright Brothers who successfully tested their aircraft on the banks of Kitty Hawk, N.C. The N.C. Museum of History’s website is full of information about famous people who impacted N.C. and the larger society. I would love to have my students continue to explore people from the past and have them create Fake Tweets from those people’s points of view. Our fourth graders will be doing an all day field trip to Raleigh, N.C. this coming week where they will visit the N.C. Museum of History among other places. I hope that they will return excited to have seen people of their state in the Museum which will lead to some amazing Fake Tweets!
Every year from March 31 through April 15, you can follow @titanic_live on Twitter where you will see events that led up to the Titanic disaster. Someone relives the moments from the Titanic by pretending to have been on the ship. I have never followed it before, but plan to do so this year. I think that I will share the Twitter feed from @titanic_live by archiving the Tweets in Storify. I will not only be able to show a multiday event in history through Tweets, but also be able to use the Tweets as a mentor text. Students would analyze the verbs that are chosen to describe action then carefully craft their own Fake Tweets about an event from history or from recent history using articles from ClassDogo.com or from CNN Student News. Many of our upper grade teachers are using Newsela with students which has Lexile leveled reading passages for students to read about current events. I hope that students will get a feel for how to communicate via Twitter while succinctly sharing glimpses from history.