May 2009
Vol 6 No 5

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.6 No.5 May 2009

Cover Story by Matt Levinson
Schools and Facebook: Moving Too Fast,
or Not Fast Enough?
Schools can draw a line in the sand, with zero tolerance rules written into school handbooks, or they can shift with the changing sands of social networking and utilize social networking and Facebook to enhance teaching and learning.

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
Teachers Are the Greatest Assets
On the first day of school, the teacher across the hall commented to me that my students are "always so good!" It's not the students; it's the procedures that have proven to work. The First Days of School helps me to manage my class, so that I can be an effective teacher.

»Comedy Highlights from Room K-1! Sue Gruber
»What Will Your Students Remember? Leah Davies
»My Mrs. Krikorian Todd R. Nelson
»Discipline Is a Liberating Word Marvin Marshall
»The Busy Educator's Monthly Five Marjan Glavac
»Help! Too Much Talk! Not Enough Work! Barbara Pressman
»Mayan Sites and Paris Easy on the Purse Josette Bonafino
»The Little Things that Count in Our Schools: Doing Something Different, Simple and Powerful Cheryl Sigmon
»Teacher Morale Matters Dorothy Rich
»Team Management - It’s in the Cards Rick Morris
»Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century Hal Portner

»The Document Camera: A Better Way to Present! Joe Frisk
»Need a Teaching Job? Here’s Where to Find One Alan Haskvitz
»Make Twitter an Ally in the Classroom! Alan Haskvitz
»Teaching Is... Bill Page
»Celebrating True Heroes Graysen Walles
»Digital Pens & Touch-Screens Tim Newlin
»12 Ways to Improve and Enhance Your Paraprofessional- Teacher Experience Susan Fitzell
»May 2009 Writing Prompts James Wayne
»Using Photographs To Inspire Writing VII Hank Kellner
»How to Increase the Number of Physics and Chemistry Majors Stewart E. Brekke
»Bibliotherapy Booklist for Elementary Students Lisa Bundrick
»8 Ways to Make Math Magical at School Steve Sherman
»5 Brainteasers Steve Sherman
»What Will You Do For Shy Kids? Marjie Braun Knudsen

»Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes Barb Stutesman
»Today Is... Daily Commemoration Ron Victoria
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Photo Tour: 3rd Grade Classroom
»Teacher Blogs Showcase
»Carol Goodrow's Kids Running Printables
»Dolch word activities, end of first grade test, first grade memory book, map and geography lessons for all levels, IEP progress, and graduation ceremonies songs
»Video Bytes; Are You Going to Finish Strong?, Antarctica, Ted Talks - Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?, How Big Is Will?, The Sling Shot Man, Styrofoam Cup vs. Deep Sea
»Live on Teachers.Net: May 2009
»New Teacher Induction Programs
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers


The Teachers.Net Gazette is a collaborative project
published by the Teachers.Net community
Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Layout Editor: Mary Miehl

Cover Story by Matt Levinson

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Matt Levinson, Sue Gruber, Leah Davies, Todd R. Nelson, Marvin Marshall, Marjan Glavac, Barbara Pressman, Josette Bonafino, Cheryl Sigmon, Dorothy Rich, Rick Morris, Hal Portner, Joe Frisk, Alan Haskvitz, Alan Haskvitz, Bill Page, Graysen Walles, Tim Newlin, Susan Fitzell, James Wayne, Hank Kellner, Stewart E. Brekke, Lisa Bundrick, Steve Sherman, Steve Sherman, Marjie Braun Knudsen, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, Rita Sheffield, Carol Goodrow, and YENDOR.

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Alan Haskvitz

Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

Make Twitter an Ally in the Classroom!

I have met the enemy… and made it my friend!
by National Hall of Fame Educator
Alan Haskvitz
Regular contributor to the Gazette
May 1, 2009

It is difficult at best to keep up with the latest in technology let alone find an acceptable use for it in the classroom. Add to that school policy on cell phones, Internet blocking software, and the epidemic of text messaging, and teachers are doing well to hold their own.

Now comes Twittering. This is essentially text messaging limited to 140 characters and it is can be sent as broadcast messaging and Instant Messaging to one person or several. Twittering can be limited to friends or as a subscription. However, its importance in the classroom, if allowed, is its potential to motivate students to share ideas and to even improve their note taking abilities.

First, you need to register your name. Try for a video and more information. You can also practice on that site and you can follow others who can provide ideas and guidance. I suggest you make your Twitter stream private, there is no need for it to be on the Internet. This also makes it much safer for classroom use where you can communicate with your students and answer questions in nearly real time, if you have the time.

Remember that Twitter is like Post It Notes, quick and to the point, and not like email, which is more formal and has many more functions. Twitter is fast, and if you want to get more involved there are hashtags, a Twitter search engine and Retweeting.

To start to use Twitter, students must sign-up for your Twitter feed and you obviously need to budget time to answer the Tweets you receive. After that I recommend you start small and expand as your time and interests permit. Remember to make sure you have administrative and parental approvals.

Here are some ideas I have come up with for using Twitter with public school classes.

  1. quick review of what was covered and what is going to be covered in class that day or the next.
  2. post a few quick review questions and some good websites to add depth to a lesson.
  3. privately seek/accept questions from students who don’t have the moxy to ask in class.
  4. quickly relate what is happening in the news to the class and make teachable moments more meaningful and more personal.
  5. share ideas
  6. help absent students keep up with work
  7. provide homework assistance.
  8. network with students around the world. For example, while your class is studying Japan’s involvement in World War Two, students in Japan could be sending messages about their perspective. As the visionary Marshall McLuhan envisioned, Twitter makes possible an immediate Global Village.

The possibilities are vast, but remember that some students may have to pay a fee for such text messages and so check beforehand and always make Twittering an elective. Of course, students can set their Twitter so all messages come as emails, which is the only way to really avoid these charges, but this does remove some of the immediacy of the Twitter concept.

There are some ideas posted here that are used by a professor in Texas that might key some ideas for the public school classroom.

Obviously, there are downsides and caveats to using Twitter in the classroom and all such ideas need to be supported by the administration. But there are upsides as well. Imagine the students following President Obama by subscribing to his Twits or getting Twits from students who are under duress around the world.

As a teacher you can also use Twitter search to find other educators and learn about conferences, ideas, and even share lessons and concerns.

More help:

Other areas to explore include edmodo. This service enables teachers and students to send files, links, and even assignments to each other. Teachers sign up for an account and create a class code. Students sign up and the messages are held to just those in the loop. A great tool for ESL and gifted students and others who need a differentiated curriculum.

Twitter in the Classroom (University)

Twitter in the Classroom

Some insights into how Twitter can help you as a person. A little vague, but stretches the reach of Twitter and helps one understand the value of such a program outside the educational realm.

21 Ways to use Twitter in the Classroom

Seven Things You Should Know about Twitter

Additional technology resources posted on my site:

Huge listing of free technology links:

Teach with Computer Games:

Clean up your computer:

Free virus software:

Free software for Teachers:

Protecting your students and yourself on the Internet:

Other technology resources:

Educational Software:

» More Gazette articles...

About Alan Haskvitz...

Alan Haskvitz teaches at Suzanne Middle School in Walnut, Calif., and makes staff development presentations nationwide. In addition, he serves as an audio-visual evaluator and design consultant for his county department of education; a tutor to multi-cultural students in English and art; and an Internet consultant.

Haskvitz's career spans more than 20 years. He has taught every grade level and core subject, has been recognized repeatedly for innovative teaching and has received the following honors, among many:

  • USA Today All Star Teacher
  • 100 Most Influential Educators
  • Reader's Digest Hero in Education
  • Learning Magazine's Professional Best
  • National Middle Level Teacher of the Year
  • National Exemplary Teacher
  • Christa McAuliffe National Award
  • Robert Cherry International Award for Great Teachers
In addition, Haskvitz publishes articles on successful educational practices and speaks at conferences. He has served on seven national committees and boards.

Haskvitz maintains credentials and training in special and gifted education, history, administration, bilingual education, journalism, English, social studies, art, business, computers, museumology and Asian studies. He holds these credentials for Canada, New York and California. His experience also includes staff development, gifted curriculum design, administration, community relations and motivation. His background includes 10 years of university education.

As a teacher, Haskvitz's curriculum increased CAP/CLAS test scores from the 22nd percentile to the 94th percentile, the largest gain in California history. In addition, Haskvitz and his students work continuously to improve their school and community. His students' work is often selected for awards in competitions in several subject areas. For more details about Alan and his students' work, visit his page on the Educational Cyber Playground.

Haskvitz works tirelessly to improve and advance his profession, which is why he developed Reach Every Child.

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