Sarah A Honore Profile picture
Apr 17, 2018 24 tweets 10 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I've posted a little bit about exploring Twitter threads as a new and emerging genre, and people have seemed interested in how that works (including some #HISDELA teachers and #ILAChat members), so here's a general overview!
First and foremost: the reasoning. Research shows that more and more people are getting their news from social media (…), which also means that more and more people are getting their news with a heavy dose of commentary.
Whether you agree with that or's happening. And it's happening to our students. So our job is not to judge them or belittle them or shame them--our job is to meet them where and when they are and teach them.

See also: my thread re: cell phones.
We are about to release these kiddos into the world, and so right now our ONLY job is to prepare them to read critically, process information thoughtfully, and respond effectively. Whatever that looks like for them in their daily lives. Period.
Even if this is you:
A caveat: The Internet can be a dark and scary place, particularly the comments sections. Before you embark on any of this, have conversations with your kids about what your expectations are. They will not need a Twitter account to read Tweets. However.
Some of your kids will have Twitter accounts, and they will want to engage with people they disagree with. Have conversations about this AHEAD of time, not after you find them punching their keyboards. I wrote this unit for English IV students. Just FYI.
If you have younger kids or kids you suspect will get lost in the fathomless abyss that is Twitter, you can obviously use screenshots of Tweets or threads, but you will also lose out on the dynamic aspect of things like hyperlinks and GIFs, which make Twitter threads special.
Okay, now the good stuff!
The planning: I chose 7-8 currently active activism hashtags for the kids. Think #guncontrol and #blacklivesmatter and #weneeddiversebooks and #metoo and #dreamactnow. I made sure that there were a wide variety of current Tweets for each of them.
I also made sure that there were really robust Twitter threads for each of these topics. I tend to bookmark Twitter threads I really like anyway, so that wasn't really hard. You should start doing that too!
And then, because this unit had to involve a standard comparing various types of media that cover the same topic, I found a speech and a "traditional" article for each of the movements associated with the activism hashtags. It took a bit of time, but it paid off!
First lesson: how to analyze the connotation of language. Often kids can identify that language is powerful or emotional, but find it hard to pinpoint how that impacts their response to a piece of writing. They need to be able to identify how language is shaping their views.
They need to define the word, name the emotion (thanks, @BreneBrown!), and apply it to both the text and their own feelings. Are they feeling angry as they read? WHY? What language is making them feel that way? It allows them to (sort of) objectively read incendiary things.
Once you practice that a few times together, have them do a search for Tweets using the activism hashtag they chose. They should select a few (meaning you're giving them some space to NOT choose something that makes them feel unsafe or upset) to analyze.
Next, they'll explore threads curated by you that are associated w/ the activism hashtag. Your standards that you're covering will determine how they analyze the thread. You will also need to have mentor texts throughout this process. I used this thread:

In examining Twitter as a genre, we have to identify what makes it special, so I had a lesson where we mapped out the author's craft. As a class, you ID all the possible components of a Twitter thread: GIFs, images, anecdotes, hyperlinks, stats, background info, details...
Then you model examining your mentor thread JUST for author's craft/strategies to see if any patterns emerge (i.e., few statistics, but lots of incendiary images; lots of background information, etc.). You can make this map as visually appealing as you like, or just a list.
For your kids who are really detail-oriented/literal/possibly mathy, this is a great opportunity to show them that texts--ALL texts--are made up of smaller, individual choices by the author. They did not emerge fully formed. Authors are constructing meaning from smaller things.
After this point, I brought in speeches and the "traditional" articles related to their activism hashtags. They read them to analyze for evidence, assumptions, bias, purpose, and audience. And then they considered the three genres they'd explored and had a group discussion:
Which of the three texts was most effective? Which was most biased? How does the audience shift and change between the three texts, and why does that matter? Does each text serve the same purpose? How is format influenced by purpose? Why might someone CHOOSE Twitter as a genre?
And all of this culminated in a whole-class Socratic seminar about the most crucial elements of persuasion, the benefits and pitfalls of news and information on social media, whether their classmates should join the activism movement they explored, etc.
Every single thing I did with Tweets and Twitter threads is transferable to other genres, but it elevates the texts that kids are seeing on a daily basis. It's letting them know that the things they choose to read--even if they're on a feed--are valid and valuable.
It gives them a safe space to learn to process the information and opinions they are bombarded with on a daily basis so that we can send kids out into the world who feel confident in their own knowledge and abilities and can use social media as a tool--hopefully for activism!

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More from @TeachWithHonore

Jul 18, 2018
*whispers* The classics aren't locked away in a room to which only English teachers have the key. We are not gatekeepers for the canon, and the only reason we feel we are is because we worry kids won't read those texts in English class otherwise. But so what if they don't?
Tons of books have been written about love, loss, acceptance, etc. Is it better to have every kid be able to say, "Have you read Romeo and Juliet? Me too," or is it better to have kids say, "I haven't read R&J, but I HAVE read _____ and it was great. Should I read R&J?"
Is it better for every kid to graduate having read/been dragged through the same books, or is it better to have kids graduate having read wildly different texts and built their own worldview from those books? Is it better to have the same reading life or different reading lives?
Read 6 tweets
Jun 27, 2018
There's been a lot of discussion about the #lauraingallswilderaward and #LauraIngallsWilder 's place in the literary canon, and a lot of it centers around nostalgia. But your nostalgia has never been a great reason to make kids read anything. So let's #DisruptTexts it!
Before we do that, let's look at some articles that help us to frame WHY we're disrupting the Little House series:…
And this thread is also a really good read:

Read 22 tweets

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