Bringing Twitter Offline


When people think about school, often the first thing that comes to mind is students learning about a wide range of subjects.  However, what is sometimes overlooked is the social and emotional impact that schools have on their students.

Schools do not normally spend a large amount of time focused on social and emotional learning (SEL), however any time that a teacher dedicates to teaching their students important social skills will help them to turn into well-rounded young adults.

Jill Fletcher, a Middle School teacher from Hawaii, helps teach SEL with an offline version of Twitter.  She started the activity as a way to help students who felt disconnected from their peers to feel as though they are a part of the school community.

Fletcher starts the activity by having each student fill out a paper profile including a username, bio, and profile picture.  Then students have to find at least 3 followers for their page, a close friend, a friendly acquaintance, and someone in the class they rarely talk to.

Fletcher provides a prompt for the students to tweet about.  After all students have tweeted their responses via a paper tweet taped up to their profile, they have to respond to all of the people they follow as well as anyone else in the class they would like to respond to.  Students can show that they liked or connected with a tweet by putting a heart sticker on it. Then, some of the tweets are read aloud to the class.

This exercise helps teach students hows to be supportive and empathetic to other students.  Some students took the opportunity to share feelings or big events in their lives while others told jokes.  However, all of the students felt more connected to each other after the exercise, helping to improve their emotional well-being with SEL.

Story via Edutopia