Monday, December 31, 2012

Using Twitter in Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Classrooms

For an hour each week, certified teachers at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School conduct supplemental instructions in their content areas. These supplemental instructions are designed to enhance the rigorous curriculum already in placeThese hours are spent with boys and girls engaging in group activities, teacher-led lectures, and other learning opportunities that contribute to the students’ academic development and recovery. Often in Social Studies’ classes, students learn about the current events of the world around them. This week is no exception.

As a teacher, I try to bring in as many different perspectives of the current events in the world.  In class, students are presented with video clips and articles from various news organizations.  One of the favorites of the students is a magazine that we subscribed to entitled: The New York Times Upfront.  It is a publication geared for high school students. They focus on the big stories of the time period, and make sure that the article has the background information that students will need.  The students also appreciate the extra stuff that appeals to them, like political cartoons.  Recently, we have been doing a “best hits” of these magazines— going back and catching articles we haven’t had a chance to read yet.

This week, the students were met with a new challenge. They had to choose between two different articles.  One article discussed the law in New York City about preventing sodas that are at least 32 oz. from being sold.  The other article discussed the positive and negative nature of the political commercials that flood the airwaves whenever there is an election.  After reading the article, students were asked to respond to the article in the form of a tweet.  As a teacher, this encourages the students to have an opinion about what they are reading.  Also by putting it in the form of a short tweet (140 characters or less), students are limited on how much they can say.  They have to become creative in what they say and how they say it - getting straight to the point.

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Shawn reads "Sugar Wars" about the NYC soda ban
The other cool thing about this assignment was the fact that the students had an audience to write for…you!  When I gave the assignment, the students came up with the hashtags they would use so that all of their tweets would be connected. They were very excited to have their mark in the global conversation.

Later today, I will submit the student's written responses to Twitter. So, get on our Twitter feed and see what the students responded to. The soda article’s hashtag will be #nycwar and the campaign article’s hashtag will be #ads.  Our Twitter handle is @CRAcademy and students’ posts will go up today and on Wednesday through my account.  The posts will remain anonymous, but if you have a student here, ask them which one is theirs or guess and see if you were right!

--Written by Kimberly, Social Studies and English teacher

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