You may remember a post I did last week on using Twitter with younger students, based on a presentation by Matt Gomez about his Kindergarten class’ experience with “Twitter Friends.” I couldn’t wait to try connect my 1st graders with a class on Twitter, and was thrilled to receive a reply to my request for 1st gradeTwitter buddies from a teacher in Illinois.
We decided to do a Mystery Chat – similar to a Mystery Skype. Our students came up with names for the private accounts we set up (that was an interesting brainstorming session!), and we scheduled the chat for yesterday morning.
Before the chat, my class came up with some questions to ask to help them determine where the other class was located. I also set them up with some iPads and laptops to practice looking at some maps and Googling some basic questions.
The experience was not without its hiccups. Map questions seemed to be okay, but we haven’t done a lot of internet research yet. So, when the mystery class asked us what our state food is, we all looked at each other with wide eyes. To help the class out, I typed “state food of Texas” into Google in a separate window from our chat, and we had an interesting discussion on not going with the first piece of information you find on a Google search. I was pretty sure our state food couldn’t be bread!
With little time left, the 1st graders did not have time to try to Google which state has the violet as its state flower, a clue which our mystery class had given us. They are still hunting and pecking on the keyboard, so I typed it in for them, and found out that our mystery state was in Illinois.
I was a bit worried about the lag time between responses and questions, and was concerned the students would find the experience a bit boring. But, by the end of the period, they were on the edges of their seats. When they found out the state touched the Great Lakes, they immediately honed in on Michigan. When we finally learned the true location, it seemed to mystify them.
“Illinois?!!!! Who would have guessed Illinois?”
Later in the day, I saw one of my first graders in the bus line, and she ran to hug me. “I still can’t believe they live in Illinois!!!!!” she exclaimed.
They are looking forward to our next chat with the Illinois class, and we are hoping to connect with more classes around the world. If you missed my updates to the post about Twitter for younger students, you might want to take a look, as it includes a great resource for finding classes interested in connecting on Twitter in other regions.