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Tip of the Week – Twitter template and Tweet summaries

I haven’t decided quite yet whether this is sacrilegious or not. But a guy named Chris Juby has decided to use Twitter to summarize the entire Bible, one chapter at a time.

We’ve talked in the past about using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter as instructional tools. But it’s always been a way to simulate or recreate the actions of thinking of historical people and this Bible thing has got me thinking a bit.

When asked about the project, Chris said

It’s a really tough process deciding what the key themes of each chapter are and what can be left out.

Many kids have trouble with summarizing, trying to do exactly what Chris is doing with Twitter – trying to figure out what is really important.

What if you used the Twitter concept to help kids summarize text? It’s a idea that they understand, with many of them already using the tool or texting via cell phones.

And while Twitter is probably blocked in most of your schools, it’s not tough to create some sort of usable blank template based on the Twitter page. In an earlier post, I posted directions on how to create a Facebook template. Follow those instructions to make one yourself or you can simply download a PDF version of a blank Twitter template that I quickly put together.

Have kids read the text, watch the video or listen to the lecture. Have them stop at appropriate times in the text or during the video and, using the template, ask them to create a “tweet” of the most important themes or ideas presented in that section of content. (But have them leave the big empty space at the top blank for now.)

Students can “publish” their tweets by having a partner read what they wrote. Encourage conversation and comparison between partners about what each wrote. Repeat the process until the content has been completed delivered.

I would then have partners exchange their Twitter “pages” one last time. Students should create a question for each of the tweets created by their partner. This will provide a quick way for students to review the information – having both a simple summary and a question that can help trigger additional information.

An example might be a tweet that I created stating

Gettysburg is big 3-day battle in PA, July 1863. 20th Maine holds, Pickett’s Charge fails, north survives Confederate invasion

My partner would create a question in the margin along the lines of

Why was the Battle of Gettysburg so important?

The final step would for each student to go to the top of their Twitter template (the space that they left blank earlier) and create a tweet that summarizes all of their previous tweets. All of these activities will help students create, store and recall tons of information.

And while we know this is just another form of a graphic organizer, your students will see just the Twitter connection and dive right in.

Have fun!

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8 Comments Post a comment
  1. I have been doing this for years as “Gist Statements,” but just recently added “Tweets.” I think it is a great way to concisely summarize for formative assessments, etc.


    August 22, 2010
  2. Very cool idea! I plan to look at my college’s WebCT/BlackBoard package and implement something of that sort for my inexperienced readers. The students really have difficulty prioritizing information!

    August 22, 2010
  3. I used your template to teach teacher candidates in grad school about what Twitter is. It works wonderfully. Each learner gets a blank Twitter page and posts a question. We post the papers around the room and they get post it notes to add @replies.

    I’m also hoping to print this poster size, laminate it and use it for exit slips or other things. Perhaps several of them.

    I’d love to find Twitter response post it notes…

    August 15, 2012
    • glennw #

      I’ve also used the template as part of teacher staff development as you’ve described. Love your idea of Twitter response Post It notes!


      August 15, 2012
  4. This is great. I do find that Twitter is blocked in our school filter so instead I have resorted to avoiding Twitter all together. However, I love how Twitter condenses crucial information. It is good to learn how to condense all the raw facts into usable statements to remember and log. I will be using this idea for a few of my classes and hopefully implementing to help my students learn how to remember more information from the Bible sermons they hear daily. Thanks!

    March 4, 2013
    • glennw #

      It does force kids to summarize concepts and ideas. Good luck!


      March 5, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Tip of the Week – My Fake Facebook, Twitter and Text « History Tech
  2. How to Transform the Social Studies Classroom in 140 Characters or Less: #mcss16 | History Tech

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