Twitter can be a serious distraction.
I use it almost daily, largely to procrastinate but sometimes to explore new ideas and make useful connections (like #hiphoped, for example).
Recently, I found myself retweeting a few tweets from an account I follow called @TopFilmTip. Essentially, @TopFilmTip provides excellent, pithy, entertaining micro-reviews of a range of films coming on terrestrial television.
With the end of term nigh, I had a few lessons spare so I thought it’d be an idea to craft a few lessons in which my students would produce tweets of this ilk, of their own. I’ve got this thing about discernment in language and figured that it would be a good way of encouraging (read *forcing*) kids to choose their words wisely to convey maximum impact
Step one was easy – select a selection of Top Film Tip tweets and compile for the kids to analyse.
Then, we looked in detail at a Top Film Tip tip on this film…
…and carried out some whole-class analysis/ annotation…
…before the kids discussed and decided on a criteria for the perfect Top Film Tip.
Using this criteria, I then got them to write a few tweets for films of their choice, with the extra challenge of writing one serious and one funny. Then, in groups, they critiqued each others’ efforts before redrafting.
It was amazing to see how much care was taken into getting these tweets right, with careful verb, adverb and adjective choice. Some were able to start experimenting with tone and voice, yielding some intriguing results.
Soon, we were ready to put some tweets into Twitter, which I promptly did, anonymously. The feedback was great. Lots of favourites, lots of retweets, lots of validation for the kids, from real, actual, tweeting people no less.
See? On reflection, it was excellent how successful a project this turned out to be, including:
- Real audience
- Multiple drafts
- A heist approach
- A clear outcome
- Tangible use of skills
Huge thanks to @TopFilmTip for the support and feedback during this process. I strongly suggest you follow the feed and have a go at getting your students to tweet film reviews in September.
Yours, in teaching,