Friday, January 22, 2016

Twitter Profile

Reading this morning triggered in me the idea for a classroom writing assignment.  The topic current and relevant, it might well challenge students in an engaging way, while also teaching a bit of important content.  The assignment, in short, would be to ask students to write a Twitter profile.  I’m not suggesting that a classroom teacher requires students to post to Twitter or any other social site, but the task of composing a short biographical “post” is, I think, a worthy task.

I know little of Twitter and would need a 10-year-old to hold my hand through the process of posting a tweet.  In my generation, a tweet was a sound made by a bird or a car that needed lubrication.  I understand, though, that a post on Twitter is limited to 140 characters or less, including spaces and non-alphabetic characters.  Twitter profiles are limited to the same 140 characters.  Although teachers, myself included, typically urge students to elaborate (“…tell me more…” is nearly a catch-phrase for me), the idea of valuing quality and precision over quantity appeals to me.

It’s an opportunity to ask students to think, to be clear, and to experiment.  Given time to think, perhaps by allowing a day or more to pass between the assignment and the execution, and with a few examples to get students minds into the right framework, this could be a “learner.”  The assignment might be a great time to introduce both dictionary and thesaurus as a source of synonyms.  And, it would introduce and clarify “current” vocabulary, such as “profile,” “biography” or “bio,”  and “character.“  No doubt you can find even more of value here.  To boot, at 140 characters, it looks easy.  It’s something that a child might see as something that they can do and want to do.

Below, I’ve tried my hand at the process with the character count in parentheses: 

-    Heart overrules head, but head always busy.  Passion, Passion, Passion (69 characters)

  • Run, bike, golf, fish, read, ponder, write, direct, etc.  Clearly, I don’t need another hobby! (88)

  • Family first: dad (+ in-law) & grandpa.  Teacher, not first, but to my core.  Live to give. (90)

  •   A sense of humor about myself; a serious desire to positively impact each that I touch. (86)

Clearly, I’m a man of low character…..count.

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