How Can I Get Followers For My Classroom Twitter Account?

Someone asked me this great question at a session I was leading this week. I don’t think I answered the question adequately, so I decided to put a better response here.

Who Do You Follow?

My first thought is that it is not who follows your class that is important; it is whom your class follows.

If you teach a primary class, you probably choose very carefully who you follow. Simply put, you want to select people or classes that you can learn from. My class follows some primary classes, including a class that tweets in French. I include this class to help my students see that other people actually speak and write this language that we practice together. We purposely follow only a few classes to help my students feel more connected with these students in other schools. We also follow Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut whose photos, videos and tweets are inspiring the world’s interest in space. We learn from everyone we follow.

We do not follow my children’s parents or educators I admire. Many of these people’s tweets would be beneficial, but most adults occasionally succumb to banal or snarky tweets about the person in front of them in the grocery line or worse. These are not appropriate for young children so we simply do not allow them in our timeline. I want our shared or individual reading time that includes the reading of tweets to be a learning time, so I make who we follow a matter of careful consideration.

Encouraging Others to Follow You

Despite what I just said about who you follow being more essential than who follows you, no one wants to tweet in a vacuum. Here are some suggestions for ways to help others to notice your class and what you are tweeting.

  • Make your class worth following. Ask your students what they like to read in tweets. Do they like to read sentences that all start with “I”? Would they rather read “we did math” or “we put cubes together to show groups of tens and ones”? This can be a great motivator for students to add details to their writing.
  • Add pictures or video links to students’ creations to some of your tweets.
  • Let the parents of your students know that you are on Twitter. Although we do not follow them, I do encourage them to follow us.
  • Show that you tweet. If you have a blog, you can put a Twitter widget in the sidebar to display what you have been tweeting. Go to your settings and then click on widgets. Twitter will set it up according to your preferences.
  • If you are on Twitter yourself, occasionally retweet good content from your classroom to let other teachers know you have a class account.
  • If you follow a class, but that class does not follow you, you can still interact with them. If you put @username in your tweet, they will see your question or comment on their mentions page.  If a class enjoys interacting with you, they may follow you in return.

However you use Twitter and whoever you follow, Twitter can be an engaging and authentic literacy tool. I have written a book called Connected From the Start. It should be available by the end of March.  It includes an entire chapter about using Twitter with little learners.

The best people I know to explain the wonders of Twitter in the classroom are my students. I’ll leave the last words about Twitter to them.

9 thoughts on “How Can I Get Followers For My Classroom Twitter Account?

  1. Great video and blog post! I really appreciate the advice on how to use twitter in the classroom. I haven’t started teaching my own class yet (I graduate this spring), but your comments and video have really helped me image how I might use twitter (or blogs) with my class in the future.

  2. I love the way you explained classroom twitter accounts. I have a personal that I use for PD and I have a class twitter that we tweet pics, projects, or what we are doing. Twitter has just taken off at our school and we have some confusion, teachers trying to follow personal accounts or using their class acct. for PD. it is an ongoing process that I think will be beneficial in the end. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Inspired by ur sessions at Reading for the Love, my class has started to Tweet. We started Monday and we call it the Twitter bird – what does he want to tell everyone about our class today? The kids love it! And so do I! We are Ms. Redford’s Class @kindyfriends. We are following you guys! Just saw your pancake breakfast. Yum.

  4. I love how you use twitter! I was just given an iPad cart and I’m wondering how you get all your iPads logged into the same Twitter account. Is this something you can do on your laptop, or do you have to do this X 25 for each iPad?

    Also, do you have recommendations for any other people for a primary class to follow? Authors, etc?

    1. Thanks, Catherine. Yes, you have to log into Twitter on each iPad, but when you have done it once, it remembers and you don’t have to do it each time. As for who to follow, there are some fabulous classes following @mscassidysclass on Twitter. Check who is following us and who they are following.

  5. Thanks for sharing, how it is beneficial to follow other classrooms. I see how twitter can expand students’ world beyond their own classroom. It is very inspiring to read all the wonderful things you do, using technology, in your classroom.

  6. Dear Mrs. Cassidy,
    My name is Cari Raymond. I am an EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama. As part of our class projects we are assigned different teachers from around the world to read their blogs, learn from what they have shared and leave our comments or questions on their blog. About two weeks we can comment again and then one month later we post a summary of the post we commented on as well as our thoughts. This way everyone in the class can share what they have learned and how we can apply these findings in our future classrooms. I will be posting the summary on my blog Cari Raymond’s EDM 310 Class Blog on March 10, 2013. Thank you.
    I agree that Twitter can be used to help students not only connect to others in the world but to improve their readings as well. The video itself is solid proof that even a social media site can help a child’s education. My favorite part of your post was that you asked the students what they wanted on the Twitter page and why they liked certain parts; you made it about them and gave them pride in their work. Hopefully your example will show other teachers that you can still watch over your students while allowing them control over the account. I loved how while your students were learning French you showed them a Twitter account by French students. This helped to connect what they were learning to students just like themselves. When I moved to New York City I loved going to Little Italy and listened to everyone speak because I had just stared learning Italian. The more I studied the more I could understand which soon became my drive and I believe your French Twitter account will do the same. Nothing feels more amazing as a student than to walk into a new place and understand everything around you because you made a commitment to learn more that followed you throughout your life. Thank you.
    Cari Raymond

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