Facilitating a Class Twitter Chat

Tips for hosting a Twitter chat with your students—a handy tool for enhancing digital literacy and engaging introverts.
Two speech bubbles formed from icons indicating Twitter and other digital tools

There are many advantages to using Twitter chats in class. Teachers can use them to encourage digital literacy, offer immediate feedback on students’ ideas, and track participation via the chat hashtag. The format allows a large number of students to share thoughts at the same time, and may help shy students participate as they don’t have to speak in public. And Twitter chats can inspire creativity by allowing both students and the teacher to supplement the discussion with digital resources like photos and videos.

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Encouraging a Sense of Gratitude in Students

Activities that foster gratefulness have benefits for students beyond enhancing their social and emotional skills.
A young girl in the foreground and other kids beyond her write in notebooks.

In the glittery bustle of the holidays, teachers often scramble to fit in last-minute lessons and refocus students dreaming of vacation excitement. It’s worthwhile to pause in the middle of all that excitement to build in reflective moments of gratefulness.

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Secret Admirers and Classroom Management

A simple activity can reduce friction in a classroom by guiding students to focus on each other’s strengths.
Two elementary school girls are smiling and standing side by side.

Although my first year of teaching was more than two decades ago, I clearly remember how my second graders returned from Thanksgiving more settled and focused. I was teaching at a public school in Oakland, California, and as December began, I was hopeful, energetic and increasingly confident about the learning routines I’d established in my class. Yet cliques had formed among some of the girls, and too often kids were not nice to each other. Another teacher had given me a book called Tribes, a guide to building a safe and caring learning community in the classroom. I wholeheartedly adopted it.

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Gamifying Your Class to Meet the Needs of All Learners…..

Introduce game dynamics like leveling up and earning badges into your classroom to boost student engagement. By John McCarthy

Illustration showing a computer and various icons connected to games and gameplay.

Playing games is fun. Some people pour hours into games without complaint, whether it’s shooting 200 free throws or completing a guild raid in World of Warcraft over several hours.

You can tap into that kind of engagement through gamification—applying game elements to non-game environments to encourage higher participation and motivation. A simple example is a hotel chain, airline, or credit card reward system, where points earned offer customers perks like free rooms, flights, or upgrades, or other amenities. Continue reading “Gamifying Your Class to Meet the Needs of All Learners…..”

Drones Can Be Fun—and Educational

A young boy is standing in an empty cement building. He's playing with a flying, remote-operated drone.

Peering up, a teacher asked me, “What are we going to use it for?” as I flew our shiny new drone up between the umbrellas on the quad, past the roof of the gym, and into the low scattered clouds. The camera projected back to my iPhone, and I could see the newly planted trees in our quad, the only green for miles in the Mondrian concrete grid that is our local community.

The students and teachers in the quad all looked up too, shielding their eyes to see the drone fly. Our custodians pulled up in their cart, and my assistant principal whooped like one of the middle schoolers on my campus.

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19 Big and Small Classroom Management Strategies


A closeup of a high school girl sitting at a purple desk. She's writing, looking down at her paper. Other students are sitting behind her, slightly blurred.

The year I started teaching seventh- to twelfth-grade English in Minneapolis, Prince launched his song about urban ruin, “Sign o’ the Times.” That song was an apt musical backdrop for the lives of my students, most of whom lived in poverty and challenged me daily. That year also afforded me the opportunity to be assaulted with a stone, two chairs, a Rambo knife, a seventh-grade girl’s weak jab, and dozens of creative swear words. Fortunately, classroom order improved when I learned that successful classroom management depends on conscientiously executing a few big strategies and a lot of little ones.

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