From the Office of the Future of Reading

Please join me in welcoming today’s guest blogger, Madeline Schnurr. Madeline is a fifth grade teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Dallas, TX. You can find her on Twitter. When she’s not reading or ordering books for her classroom library, Madeline is giving unsolicited book recommendations to her fifteen nieces and nephews.

Thanks, Twitter

I know Twitter has been around since 2006, however, had I known it would transform my literature class like it has this year, I would have been on board long ago.

Thanks to Twitter, I learned about International Dot Day. My students loved The Dot by Peter Reynolds, and celebrated by creating an amazing Animoto video. (It was a huge hit with parents.) More importantly, it gave my students an opportunity to think about what they can do to make a difference in the world.

Thanks to Twitter, I learned about the Global Read Aloud project. Every time we had to stop reading Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, and move on to another subject, they were devastated. They couldn’t get enough of it! More importantly, it gave them a chance to learn about compassion toward people with disabilities.

Thanks to Twitter, I learned about World Read Aloud Day.

My class was able to meet authors, Terry Lynn Johnson, and Nikki Loftin through Skype. Terry Lynn read an excerpt from her novel, Ice Dogs, and Nikki read an excerpt from her novel, The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy. What a fun experience for my students! More importantly, it gave them an opportunity to connect with others around the world. 

Terry Lynn Johnson

Nikki Loftin

Thanks to Twitter, I stumbled across a fun activity at @TeachingChannel, that we incorporated into our poetry unit. Each Thursday at the end of the day, our classroom had “Open Mic Night”. Students were able to share original poems or poems they found in a book. Students were reading poems written by Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, Jack Prelutsky, just to name a few. They also surprised me with meaningful and creative original poems. It was fun to see my students each week preparing for “Open Mic Night”, motivated to find the perfect poem to share. More importantly, it gave my students an opportunity to practice speaking in front of an audience, and share writing that meant something to them.

Open Mic

I would encourage any educator out there who is not on Twitter to join immediately, and start connecting with others. I can honestly say my students have benefitted from my decision to utilize this type of social media, and I bet if you asked them, they would say the same thing.

Thank you Madeline for sharing how you have used Twitter to expand the horizons of both you and your students.