Teaching From My Twitter Feed: In Praise of Twitter Chats

twitter feedUsually, my Teaching From My Twitter Feed posts are about a great article or image that popped up in my feed right at the right time. This week, however, I want to focus on a different way my twitter feed has impacted my teaching–Twitter chats. If you’ve never participated in a twitter chat, this awesome post on aplithelp.com by Jori Krulder gives step by step instructions for how you find them and how you can participate.

Sometimes Twitter chats help me consider big pedagogical questions or expose me to new books or resources (example: check out #TheBookChat this Sunday at 9pm EST if you want to talk about The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo). There are several chats that I participate in regularly, but last week #aplangchat made me rethink my entire strategy for the final two weeks before the AP Language test. I have things that I like to do every year in the weeks prior to the test, but getting bombarded with new ideas for an hour left me excited to try some of them out on my kids.

The questions were all about our “go-to” methods for reviewing argument and analysis techniques. One of the prevailing themes of the chat was the need to do something different at this point in the year. The weather is changing, kids are antsy (we are antsy), and they need to move, create, and work together if we want to keep moving them forward as writers and thinkers.

Here’s a round-up of some of my favorites from that chat:

Argument strategies

  • Michelle Dugan (@FCHSDugan) has her students physically build an argument using different colored index cards.  
  • Erin Palazzo (@ErinPalazzo) pairs up her students for speed dating to practice generating evidence quickly and fleshing out their ideas.  
  • Beth Basinger (@bethbasinger) assigns documentaries as homework and then students pull evidence from those the following day for an on-demand argument.
  • Rachel Girman (@racheltgirman) asks her students to use a favorite line from a song or movie and  generate an argument from it.
  • Amy Eckart (@AmyEckart01) gives her students bingo cards and has them fill the card with evidence from different categories for the same prompt (history, literature, current events, etc).

Analysis strategies

  • Tia Miller (@MissMillerAP) has her students rotate through stations to analyze passages together.
  • Shari Marks (@MizMarks) chooses a bunch of current songs and has her students work in groups to look for the rhetorical devices at play in the lyrics.
  • Erin Palazzo (@ErinPalazzo) models her annotations out loud in live time so her students can see her thought process.
  • Jori Krulder (@JoriKrulder) has her student create their own acronyms for how to approach a text when they analyze.

This post started not as a post but just as me taking notes, scrolling back through my feed to find all the good ideas. I actually hadn’t even participated much in the chat because I was caught up in mom duties while it was happening.  I was screenshotting ideas and saving them in a list so that I could get them all together in one place and actually use them, but as I generated my list, I realized that this might be one to share.

I debated for a bit about whether or not this would be useful for the whole Moving Writers community.  Obviously, not everyone who reads this blog teaches AP Language. Still, I think it’s worth spending a little time (and at least one blog post!) pointing out all of the valuable resources and great ideas that our fellow teachers are sharing on Twitter. #aplangchat may not be the one for you, but there are so many to choose from. I don’t teach AP Lit, but on Sunday nights I’m often lurking in their chat seeing what they’re up to. Most weeks, I stumble onto something that I can apply to my own classes.  Sometimes it’s #2ndaryELA or #nctechat or #cleartheair or #tlap or #shelfietalk or any other number of online gatherings of smart educators puzzling through teaching challenges.  The key in all of them is an open gathering of teachers sharing their questions, their answers and their creativity.  


If you’ve never participated, search one of those hashtags and jump in! I don’t think you’ll regret it. If you do participate in twitter chats, I’d love to know your favorites! Share in the comments below or connect with me on Twitter @TeacherHattie.





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