Kindergarten Tweets
April 12, 2012 8:48 PM   Subscribe

As the school day draws to a close, the children in Ms. Aaron’s class sit down to compose a message about what they have been doing all day, and send it out on Twitter. A kindergarten teacher in TriBeCa who closes each day with a tweet she composes with the class. “To me, Twitter is like the ideal thing for 5-year-olds because it is so short,” she said. “It makes them think about their day and kind of summarize what they’ve done during the day; whereas a lot of times kids will go home and Mom and Dad will say, ‘What did you do today?’ And they’re like, ‘I don’t know.’” Explaining what Twitter is was a little tricky, she said. But there was a handy analogy. Every weekend, one student takes home a stuffed animal frog and a journal. They take pictures and write about what they’re doing to share with the rest of the class. “So when I introduced Twitter, I said you guys are doing this with Froggie on the weekend, and so we’re going to let your parents know what we’re doing in class a few times a week,” she said. [Via @jasonoke]
posted by huckleberryhart (14 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I've been trying to get LittleTaff's school to allow me to tweet for the school teddy bear when he trains for, and runs, the City to Surf marathon.

Teddy Browne's headmistress is somewhat resistant. I'm soooooo gonnna use this to buttress my point. To be honest, I've just sent the link to the fundraising committee now. Let's see what happens. Thanks Huck.
posted by taff at 9:00 PM on April 12, 2012

Anna takes José Saramago’s paw in her hands and whispers in his ear. He taps the iPad and the web browser opens. José Saramago gives a little yelp.

“It’s entirely conceivable that a dog could learn simple computer functions,” says Dr. Walker Brown, the director of the Center for Canine Cognition, a research facility in Maryland. “Word processing, e-mailing, even surfing the web: for many dogs, the future is already here.”

In Anna’s bedroom, decorated with the trophies and medals common to young achievers, José Saramago is on Facebook, the popular social networking website. He’s helping Anna organize an event to raise money for her greatest passion: sustainable ibex farming.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 9:47 PM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

people who are [...] difficult to explain (like Ryan Seacrest).
posted by jeudi at 9:52 PM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

A great story. I love the way the tweet ends with "ask me about time" - an invitation to parental discussion at home.
posted by greenhornet at 10:18 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was waiting for something like the following sentence to come up:

Ms. Aaron had more difficulty cultivating a following at her last school, which was in the South Bronx, where few parents had Internet connections.

Not that teaching the kids to use Twitter isn't a cool idea—the emphasis on re-digesting and summarizing the lessons they learned that day sounds pretty useful. But it's the kind of thing you'd only see in schools with a certain socioeconomic background, which is a bit of a shame. Not that there's much a single teacher can do about that.
posted by chrominance at 10:56 PM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

As a big fan of Twitter, I can vouch for the fact that it's designed for five year-olds.
posted by bardic at 11:53 PM on April 12, 2012 [6 favorites]

chrominance, I totally agree. I'm torn about this...on the one hand, it's obviously fantastic for engagement and motivation, not to mention gets kids thinking about writing and summarizing in concise ways. And exposure to different speech/writing registers and styles, which has been shown to improve both kids' and adults' literacy and linguistic competence.

But on the other hand, this is a good example of how the digital divide can perpetuate itself by elevating those with access and alienating those without. This is where building community thorugh small acts of support can really help, i.e. a parent helping another parent by setting up their phone on Twitter, or sharing tweets with them, that sort of thing. Of course, this gets even harder in the lower socioeconomic classes, as Twitter presupposes computers and phones and paid bills and not-overworked, fed families.

That said, I think ideas like this are a step in the right direction for everybody. Plus, it just totally softens my little jaded nerdcore. I wish I could see the tweets of course, but I'm very glad that I can't.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:30 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

little jaded nerdcore
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:36 AM on April 13, 2012

I think any teacher who is proactive and dedicated enough to use new technology in the classroom, to try and enrich their students, is a frigging godsend. We need to clone this woman and disperse her throughout the country.
posted by FirstMateKate at 5:17 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Absolutely agree twitter is perfect for five year olds!
posted by bukvich at 6:14 AM on April 13, 2012

Five year olds don't really say "I don't know" when you ask them about their day. They love talking about it. The "I don't know" thing doesn't start till around seven or eight. In my experience, at least.
posted by fungible at 6:55 AM on April 13, 2012

Absolutely agree twitter is perfect for five year olds!

Which is to say, this, from the bottom of some random webpage.
posted by The Bellman at 8:50 AM on April 13, 2012

I've been using an iWeb blog in my first-grade classroom to do basically the same thing for a few years. Since iWeb hosting on MobileMe is apparently going away, I'm considering switching to Posterous. I need whatever service I use to:

- require a password...this is critical
- Allow pictures and video (lots of services charge extra for video)
- not require parents to sign up for a service to view posts
- allow parents to comment on posts and link their own pictures
- allow me to moderate posts from parents (iWeb doesn't actually do this well, Posterous does)

I also like Posterous' mobile app, so on field trips and outdoor activities I can post pictures and videos on the go. It also transcodes videos to work for whatever device the parent is using, which is nice.

Twitter would be fast and easy, but Posterous seems like it's just as easy with a few more features. Am I wrong? Are there any other similar services people like?

About the digital divide:

At my school, I can count on just about every parent to be able to access whatever I put on the internet. My class is making a book in iBook Author this year and putting it on the iBook store, because most of my parents have iPads. I use Google Docs to make an editable conference schedule, and this year every one of my parents accessed it and signed up for conferences. We have a full-time technology teacher paid by the PTA, and three computer labs.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the district, they have one computer lab, no tech teacher, and sometimes don't have time to get into the lab in a given week. Their families often don't have a computer or access to e-mail.

Our PTA raises hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. There are about 100,000 public schools in the US, it would cost tens of billions to get them all funded to our level. Which I guess is a couple of months worth of our various wars. Jesus, what a travesty.
posted by Huck500 at 9:51 AM on April 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

The "I don't know" thing doesn't start till around seven or eight. In my experience, at least.

Well, I can vouch that my daughter couldn't remember a damn thing that happened before nap until she was 3.

Open-ended questions like "what did you do today?" are extremely difficult for kinds to answer because 1) their sense of time isn't developed (everything in the future is "tomorrow"; everything in the past is "before nap"); 2) they are constantly moving on to new things.

If I ever slip and ask my 3 y.o. that question, she'll respond with her most recent activity (often done with me).

I think the digital divide is harrowing. I'm also disappointed that the updates are limited to 140 characters. The whole recording-the-work concept seems very Reggio Emilia, but it also seems like a Web site proper would be a better medium than the restrictive and smartphone-targeted Twitter.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:59 AM on April 13, 2012

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