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Focused Topic Tweets for Surface Level Tricks & Treats


Presenter: Shelley Rodrigo
School Affiliation: Mesa Community College
Email: shelley.rodrigo at gmail.com

Presenter: Elaine Jolayemi
School Affiliation: Glendale Community College
Email: em.jolayemi at gmail.com

Overview

Twitter logo and icon
QR code that links to this poster session


Students learn surface feature rules within their own writing; however, it is difficult to get students to focus on sentence level work in lengthy projects. We had students use Twitter to practice sentence level writing concerns and were surprised when students "made them their own" by developing themes or stories.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is both a microblog (each entry only holds 140 characters worth of information) and a mobile blog (content providers may easily update their blog from a variety of mobile devices). Although most people think of Twitter as a short entry personal journal, which the entry prompt of “What’s happening?” promotes; like any other blog, the content and format of individual Twitter entries is up to the author...or in this case, the instructor.

Why Twitter in a Basic Writing Classroom?

Student staring intently at a computer screen.

For decades Basic Writing courses were, and continue to be, referred to as the Sentence and Paragraph courses (depending on the level of the course). Although research continues to demonstrate that teaching grammar and style out of context with drill and kill activities does not work, many textbooks and instructors still organize their courses in such a manner.

Shelley & Authentic Writing: During the first time I taught a basic writing course I realized that student work was comprehensible, they just needed to spend more time on the sentence level. However, when working with larger projects, students focused on larger level issues (content, organization, etc.) as they should. I wanted an authentic writing experience that was focused on the sentence level-or focused on only 140 characters. I started by just assigning sentences with specific grammatical requirements; however, I quickly realized that students who had a predetermined topic had an easier time, and usually more fun, completing the assignments.



Elaine on Keeping it Real (explaining to her students Why Twitter?): Coulda -Woulda -Shoulda...Said ...
You know how it is...
You write something, you hit the send button, and then too late, you realize either you could have said it in a more clear manner; you would have said it more succinctly; or maybe should not have even said it or hit the 'send' button at all!

With Twitter, or Tweeting, part of the allure is that it is rapid-fire-just get the idea out of your head and onto the canvas or into cyberspace. Get the message out there! For "noobs" (Newbies-for those less in tune with the popular culture vernacular) posting anything without thinking carefully and rewriting is very scary. The printed word is necessarily a measure of intelligence-preserved forever for the world to see. God forbid there be any grammar, punctuation or-horror of horrors-spelling errors! And for second or third language students this anxiety is augmented exponentially.

To the rescue: a low risk and fun activity that incorporates some research-a library activity-and use of the computer for image search.

An accompanying activity could be to make a timeline that students use to locate their figure or Tweet (fake) in history. Hurrah: embedded content in the Composition Classroom! The premise is to write and post fake tweets for an historical figure. It’s pretty simple: enter a fake twitter handle (be creative), their real name (used to pluck the images from somewhere), the tweet they might have said (use #hashtags! @people! bit.ly links!), and the date to put on the tweet. Here is a link to my friend Cogdog-real name Alan Levine-and some examples that he has made. He has mad "skillz." And here is the link to the website to make the 'fake' tweets: Class Tools.

CC image posted at Flickr by bionicteaching

How We use Twitter in a Basic Writing Classroom

 

Student tweet: I love the movie ''Dirty Work'' because it is funny, witty, and very entertaining.

Replacing Drill & Kill Activities

 

  • Write a sentence that shows each of the 3 main uses of the comma according to your textbook.
    1. to separate three or more items in a series
    2. to separate introductory material from the rest of the sentence
    3. between two complete thoughts connected by and, but, or so
  • Write three sentences using the suggested interrupters. Add words both before and after the interrupting words. Then add the necessary commas. (Interrupters: who borrowed my car last fall, now sagging in the middle, & which is not on my diet).
    Student tweet: After we watched Dirty Work, I wanted to grow a beard so Norm MacDonald could shave it off.
  • Practicing Apostrophes-Write three sentences that include words ending in an apostrophe plus s.
  • Tweet a sentence about your favorite musician or band using a 'dependent clause. Learn about dependent clauses in: MyCompLab, Grammar Resources, Sentence Grammar, Clauses & Phrases.-1 raw homework point
  • Tweet a sentence about your favorite musician or band using an independent clause. Learn about dependent clauses in: MyCompLab, Grammar Resources, Sentence Grammar, Clauses & Phrases.-1 raw homework point
  • Tweet a sentence about your best friend using a subordinating conjunction. Learn about conjunctions in: MyCompLab, Grammar Resources, Sentence Grammar, Coordination & Subordination.-1 raw homework point
  • Tweet a sentence about your best friend using a coordinating conjunction. Learn about conjunctions in: MyCompLab, Grammar Resources, Sentence Grammar, Coordination & Subordination.-1 raw homework point
Student tweet: My favorite food is spaghetti; however, my boyfriend does not agree that it's the best.
  • Tweet a sentence about a what you love about your favorite movie using commas with items in a series. Learn about commas in a series in: MyCompLab, Grammar Resources, Punctuation and..., Commas.-1 raw homework point
  • Tweet a sentence about your favorite movie using a comma with introductory elements. Learn about commas with introductory elements in: MyCompLab, Grammar Resources, Punctuation and..., Commas.-1 raw homework point
  • Tweet a sentence about your favorite food using a semicolon to separate a main clause. Learn about semicolons to separate main clauses in: MyCompLab, Grammar Resources, Punctuation and..., Semicolons and Colon.-1 raw homework point
  • Tweet a sentence about your favorite food using a semicolon with conjunctive adverbs. Learn about semicolons with conjunctive adverbs in: MyCompLab, Grammar Resources, Punctuation and..., Semicolons and Colon.-1 raw homework point
Spaghetti is the favorite food of many people; it is simple and tasty.
  • Tweet a sentence about your favorite animal using a comma in a restrictive clause. Learn about commas, restrictive and unrestrictive clauses in: MyCompLab, Grammar Resources, Punctuation and..., Commas.-1 raw homework point
  • Tweet a sentence about your favorite animal using a comma in an unrestrictive clause. Learn about commas, restrictive and unrestrictive clauses in: MyCompLab, Grammar Resources, Punctuation and..., Commas.-1 raw homework point

 

Surveying the Class

What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book or character? The author's birthday was Wednesday; Theodore Seuss Giesel, http://tinyurl.com/2nemoc(external link)

Supporting One Another

From a classmate to all of you... "I just wanted to know about the test it pages 107-111 right?" -Can you help a classmate out?

Class Announcements
Instructor tweet: Look at my new activity and make one for yourself: One of my greatest influences - Salvador Dali - http://t.co/2xBrJPW

 

Tips & Tricks for Successful Assignments

  • Use Google Forms to create an online survey where students submit their Twitter Username/URL so you get all the URLs in one location. Consider making lists within Twitter to help keep different classes organized.
  • Make a hashtag for the course (like #mccENG101) so that you can easily search for their postings. Consider using TwapperKeeper or Twubs as hashtag aggregator applications.
  • Subscribe to their Twitter accounts using an RSS reader so that you pull all their postings to one location. Consider using Feedly, FeedJournal, or Tabbloid to make newsletters based on the input so that you might easily share the results with your students.
  • Worried about FERPA? Give students the option to use pseudonyms and/or keep their tweets private. You might want to consider incorporating a Web Applications Policy section in your syllabus.

 

Resources about Twitter in Education

 


Created by admin. Last Modification: Tuesday 08 of July, 2014 17:24:36 UTC by admin.