Our students’ days are filled with social media– and ours as well. The average time spent on social media is 147 minutes per day.
And this of course is not a comprehensive list as social media platforms are growing by the day.
Why belabor a point you already know? Well, if we want to have relevant mentors in the hands of our students, we need to see what mentors are already in their hands. Here is a way I integrate social media mentors into my classroom.
Introducing the Mentors
Knowing that students are spending most of their days reading social media accounts– analyzing these mentors could help our students use similar moves in their own writing.
We take a look at each platform. I choose carefully what accounts I show my students as I teach 5th graders but celebrity accounts are open and relatable to show students.
We work in small groups to analyze what each account looks like.
- How did the website designer design the website?
- What trends do you see?
- How is information presented [ through text, pictures, hashtags etc. ]?
We generate a list of things we notice across these mentors.
There are many ways you can take the next moves. My fellow Moving Writers have written about how you can duplicate these platforms to communicate information. I am going to give you my spin.
For my students we work a lot with personification in science– and voice.
I always try to start my year off with lessons on personification writing which I write about in this article. We build from this framework and look at some examples of how author’s give voice to inanimate objects.
My favorite is Sun! One in a Billion.
I always begin with: If the Sun [or any other subject] had a social media presence what would it be like?
We generate a list.
What would the Sun’s voice sound like?
What sort of things would the Sun be interested in based on the information we know?
What pictures would the Sun post?
What jobs would the Sun apply for?
What would the Sun want to Snap Chat about and to who?
If the Sun had a podcast who would it interview?
We refer back to the original list of what social media tries to help communicate.
Creating a Profile
After brainstorming together and looking at our mentors my students begin to create.
I have offered students editable templates in the past, because of course we aren’t going to make “real” profiles of our subjects. But I have found that most students like to create their own using the mentors they know. [See bottom of the page for editable templates if you would like.]Students get so excited when they are creating. They love giving a voice and creating a life for their subject.
It really explores my students depth of: irony, humor, voice, inference, personification, and more.
This gives my students a way to show what they know in a way that is engaging and relatable.
But this lesson doesn’t have to just be in 5th grade science.
- Students could create online profiles for characters in their novels– as a characterization exercise.
- Profiles for people or people groups in history.
- Their own profiles to explain who they are — as a beginning of the year low-stakes writing prompt.
Whoever you are creating a profile for this will for sure be an authentic writing lesson that can be used time and time again.
Fake Twitter Feed (An example of a fake twitter feed. I worked in google slides copying a pasting from twitter to take my own editable twitter)
Please reach out with questions, reflections, and connections in the comments below or on Twitter @Mrsablund. Check out my other articles writing out of the ELA classroom.
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