Trans-Atlantic Twitter Conversation
I started using Twitter in my classroom with my 1st and 2nd class during the final term of the last school year. I was encouraged to start because a number of schools throughout the country were coming together for a Twitter project. Organised by Simon Lewis (@simonmlewis) the project stimulated the pupils to learn about other schools in Ireland. During another part of the project, we had a Twitter conversation with all of the other schools in the project about the artist Jackson Pollock. This was really interesting and we followed this up by creating our own Jackson Pollock Pictures using a Jackson Pollock app on our iPod Touches. The pupils were quite engaged so after the project was completed, we continued to tweet every other day in class.
This year I have 2nd and 3rd class, half of whom I also taught last year and they were quite conversant with the whole Twitter idea. We continued to tweet this year and regularly tweet about things we are learning in class and things we write about on our School Blog. This week, we have joined other schools who have been tweeting about things we were learning during Science Week. It was while we were looking at our tweets this week that we received a message that read: “Hi there! We are tweeting from our classroom too! Would you share with us what you’re learning today? Where are you?” We replied to this tweet and so began a conversation during the course of the week with a school in Indiana, USA. (@superkiddos) This is what one of our lecturers in college called “opportunity teaching”. Without any pre-planning, we started learning about children who just happened to be the same age as my pupils. It was also interesting for my pupils to learn that the pupils in Indiana were just starting their school day as we were finishing up our school day. Another school in Indiana has also begun to join in the conversation with us (@BloggingBees). Here is how the conversation has gone over the course of a few days this week:
- USA: Hi there! We are tweeting from our classroom too! Would you share with us what you’re learning today? Where are you?
- IRE: We are learning things on our iPod Touches. We are in Sligo, Ireland. Where are you? What ages are you?
- USA: We live in Indiana, United States. We r 7 & 8 yrs. old. We live by a lot of lakes. 20/24 of us have a lake in our backyards.
- USA: Some things we’re curious about: Do u have school uniforms? Do u have big cities? How do u get around your town? Cars? Bikes?
- IRE: We are learning about Christopher Columbus in history. Do you know anything about him? What is your weather like? It is cold.
- IRE: We are 7, 8 and 9 years old. Our school is beside Knocknarea Mountain and near a surfing beach called Strandhill.
- IRE: We wear a school tracksuit to school. It is navy with white stripes. We use cars because we live 5 miles from town. Its rainy!!
- IRE: We start school at 9.20am. What time do you go to school at? We finish at 3pm. What time do you finish at?
- USA: We start school at 8:20 and end 3:00 pm. We are just starting our day — are you ending your day?
- USA: Normally it is snowy & cold in November, but today it is unusually warm. Last week it snowed and this week it’s hot!
- USA: CC facts we think we know: Sailed across the seas in 1492 Discovered America 10/12 is Columbus Day Do u have Columbus Day?
- IRE: We’ve just got another half an hour to go. We’re just finishing our Irish language lesson at the moment. Theres 27 in our class
- IRE: Columbus died when he was 55 years old. We found out that his 3 ships were called Santa Maria, Pinta and Nina. We’ve no CC day.
- USA: We have about 5 more hours to go. We’re getting ready for writing workshop.
- USA: We are looking at a globe and light & figuring out why you are getting ready to go home & we are just starting our day.
- USA: what lang. do u speak & know? We speak English.
- USA: We know a little Spanish, Arabic, Korean, and sign language. (Our teacher if fluent in ASL.)
- IRE: We’re going home now. We speak English and we’re learning to speak Irish. Goodbye. Tweet you tomorrow!
- IRE: Our school website is http://ransborons.scoilnet.ie/blog/ Do you have a website so that we could learn more about you?
- USA: Our corporation site is www.wawasee.k12.in.us
- IRE: We wrote about helicopters http://bit.ly/cDRl7q We received an email from a Helicopter Training Academy in Australia because of it. #twience
- USA: That is so cool! Can you teach us something about helicopters? Most people here don’t get to ride in helicopters.
- USA: Helicopters are usually for emergencies or news media in America. The public ride in airplanes.
- USA: We love learning about you on your website! So cool!
- IRE: We found out on our iPods that Christopher Columbus introduced pineapples to Europe!
- USA: Cool! We have someone in our class who LOVE pineapples! What kinds of fruit do you eat most in Ireland?
- IRE: We can get almost any kind of fruit but our favourites are apples, pears, grapes and Irish grown strawberries
- IRE: Do you get homework for the weekend? We don’t get any for the weekend but we do during the week.
- USA: We don’t get homework, but our class is the exception. We are expected to read and practice spelling every night, though.
- USA: Those are some of our faves too! We also love bananas. What kind of sweet things do you like? We like cookes and chocolate!
- USA: We read your school’s site. Can you tell us: What is hurling? Our most popular sports are football, baseball, and basketball.
- USA: We spell it “favorites.” We are wondering: is “favourites” a mistake or is that how you spell it?
- USA: Do you spell other words differently too?
- USA: Do you have special dances you do in Ireland? Some people here do a dance called a Tango.
- USA: We do a school dance too!
- IRE: We like chocolate bars, cake, jellies, sweets (candy) crisps (chips) biscuits, marshmallows, ice-cream, lollipops and popcorn.
- IRE: Hurling is an Irish sport. The stick is made from Ash and the ball is called a sliotar. Over the bar = 1 pt. Under the bar=3pts
- IRE: We spell favoUrite with a U. We also spell coloUr with a U. We also spell flavoUr with a U.
- IRE: Maeve in third class does Irish dancing. One of her dances is called “The Job of Journey Work”. It’s a traditional set dance.
- USA: What r your biscuits like? For lunch today we’re having chicken soup, turkey sandwich, cookie. What did u have for lunch?
And so we ran out of time on Friday afternoon. We hope to continue the conversation via Twitter and see what else we can learn about life for pupils of the same age 3,000 miles away!