Lesson Plans Inspired by Twitter

I’ve been inspired by the #pencilchat conversation.

As is often the case, the curriculum instructs me to teach abstract ideas to concrete thinkers. My fifth graders should be able to use nonfiction text to grow an idea. Then, students mold the idea into a thesis statement and craft an essay so that each part anchors back to the thesis.

Huh? was my first reaction, followed by a frantic search of YouTube videos that I hoped would explain the concepts in cartoon form so that my students I could understand.

My inspiration: Assuming the following tweets could be considered “nonfiction reading”, what is the big idea behind these statements? What do the writers claim?






For writing: If these writers got together to craft a thesis statement, what do you think they would write? How might they craft an essay?

I’m interested to see whether students write about pencils or computers. Then, students can read an example of an article written about the same subject (this article may have inspired the Twitter conversation). Optional extension: Write an article on the same topic from a kid perspective.

For those of you who don’t normally access twitter conversations, you can find the full string by doing the following:

  1. Login to Twitter
  2. Look for the gray search bar at the top.
  3. Type #pencilchat into the search bar.

Do you think this plan will work to target the ambitious nonfiction reading and writing objectives? How might you use a string of tweets like this?

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5 thoughts on “Lesson Plans Inspired by Twitter

  1. Very cool. I had no idea that #chat would turn into a lesson. If you haven’t checked out my Pencil Integration blog (pencilintegration.blogspot.com) it can make for interesting discussions on metaphor, satire and allegory.

  2. Fantastic. As I mentioned in this post about the origins of pencilchat, inspiration is everywhere. your post proves it yet again.

    In the same post is a series of photos which are mostly twitter conversations. And yes, there are stories through them that actually happened but there are more stories that could have happened, i.e. pathways not taken by the chatters. I would guess that this is what fiction writers do when they build on their research of non-fiction stuff.

  3. Very amusing. I tell my students that the pencil is the firest bit of educational technology ever invented. I then tell them how NASA spent millions inventing a pen that wrote in zero gravity,while the Soviets just had their cosmonauts use pencils. We master the pencil and pad first before 1 to 1 laptops

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