Tag Archives: Twitter Hashtag

Join #NCTEchat!

nctechatimageHave you joined in on #NCTEchat yet? This Twitter chat takes place on the third Sunday of the month at 8 pm ET. There is a new topic each chat.  If you have never participated in a Twitter Chat, you are in for a tweet!

You have probably heard about Twitter and that Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters or less. Twitter hashtag chats are pre-organized events and use keywords with hashtags (#). The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords in a Tweet and therefore categorizes messages. Hashtags make it easy to see the full conversation on a particular topic: Simply type the keyword into the search box at the top of your Twitter screen. For our Twitter Chat, the hashtag is #NCTEchat.

Wanting to join the Conversation? From the Twitter homepage, either sign in or sign up for a new account. At the time of the chat, type #NCTEchat into the search box at the top of your Twitter homepage. “Listen” in. Watch the comments coming from other attendees. When you are ready, speak up! To compose your own message, click the blue and white icon (looks like a notepad and quill) in the upper right corner of your Twitter page. Be sure to include #NCTEchat somewhere in your post, so that your comment is automatically pulled into the chat feed for others to see.

#NCTEchat uses the Q1/A1 format. When discussion questions are posed, they will be labeled with a Q showing it’s a question. If you are responding to a question, use an A to show that you are answering and you the same number that was in the prompt.

Twitter chats move quickly! If you can’t catch everything as it’s happening, don’t worry! You can search again by #NCTEchat to find the conversations. A Storify will also be posted a day or so after the chat. This is an archive of the conversations that take place in the Twitter chat.

With all this newfound knowledge, we hope to see you at #NCTEchat! The June chat will be held on Sunday, June 25 at 8 pm ET. This month’s topic is “YA Lit: Complex Texts, Complex Lives”.

“Fixing” Tweets and the Possibility for Critical Literacy

This post is written by member Cody Miller. 

Cody Miller

A recent #NCTEchat on Twitter focused on the power of popular culture to support learning within the classroom. For my classroom, popular culture has always been a site to develop our critical literacies. Ira Shor defined critical literacy as “language use that questions the social construction of self.” In a critical literacy framework, there is no neutrality, and the social and historical realities of people are central to meaning making. Developing students’ critical literacy has been a perennial goal of mine since I started teaching, as it has been for many teachers concerned with social justice and equity.

While watching the 2016 election and its aftermath play out in the media, I could not help but notice all of the ripe opportunities for developing an eye for critical literacy. For instance, why was the working class always positioned as majority white despite the fact that people of color make up a significant portion of the working class? Why were women treated monolithically, thus ignoring the intersectional identities that women of color live? Why are LGBTQ rights thought of in terms of marriage and adoption and not connected to broader issues like immigration? Questioning why the media positions certain identities (whether intentional or not) allows students to explore power relationships and the often unacknowledged way socio-historical realities shape the way we produce and consume media.

Twitter not only played an important role in communications during the 2016 election, it also plays an important role in the daily lives of students and the American people at large. With its limit of 140 characters, Twitter leaves plenty of room for its readers to interrogate assumptions made when reporting the news. Fortunately, the trend of “fixing” other people’s tweets seems to be on the rise. When someone “fixed that for you” or “fixed it” in a tweet, they retweeted the original post and annotated it to unveil its ideological bent. For instance, many writers reframed the media’s coverage of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests by rewriting protesters as water defenders. These “fixed it” tweets highlight the colonialist nature of the Dakota Access Pipeline while also honoring the historical realities of Indigenous people. In these “fixed it” tweets, the company is positioned as the force of harm while the protesters are positioned as defenders of the land. The “fixed it” tweets talk back to the hegemonic narrative.

The “fixing” process has implications for classroom instruction. As teachers, we should teach students to find and analyze news stories that perpetuate dominant narratives. Students should be encouraged to analyze how power dynamics are reproduced in tweets. I have had students analyze and compare how the media positions protests by white citizens with the positioning of African American protests to explore media biases and institutionalized racism. After analysis, students should be encouraged to talk back to the dominant narratives. In short, students should “fix” news stories.

Model “fixed that for you” tweets abound. For example, Good Morning America tweeted, “Bill Clinton and wife Hillary Clinton arrive at the U.S. Capitol on #InaugurationDay.” The positioning of Hillary Clinton as a “wife” erases her accomplishments and the role she played in the 2016 election. Several citizens “fixed that for you” by retweeting the story with headlines like, “Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State and 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton . . .  and “First woman to win the popular vote and Bill Clinton … .” Partisanship is not necessary for challenging dominant narratives within the media, and students should be supported in critically examining all texts. One possibility: students can explore neglected characters’ perspectives in novels by creating Twitter accounts for the characters and then “fixing” the quotes about them.

Critical literacy should not stay within the walls of a classroom. Rather, critical literacy should be a liberating force for students to read the word and the world, as Paulo Freire argued. By supporting students in “fixing that for you,” teachers acknowledge the role that Twitter plays in our reporting apparatuses while also allowing students to challenge and disrupt hegemonic narratives and biases within our national discourse. When students use “fixed that for you” narratives, they are able to place themselves and their lived experiences into the discourse and resist marginalizing forces within the broader media.

Work Cited

Shor, I. (1999). What is critical literacy? Journal for Pedagogy, Pluralism & Practice, 4(1), 1–26.

Cody Miller teaches ninth-grade English Language Arts at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, the University of Florida’s affiliated K12 laboratory school. He can be reached at cmiller@pky.ufl.edu or on Twitter @CodyMillerPKY.

#Twitter in October

writingIn the past, those who organized to advocate would communicate by calling each other on landline phones or by plastering flyers on telephone poles, bulletin boards, and restroom mirrors. They would gather and meet in coffee shops, on front stoops, or in church basements.  Now advocates communicate through email, cell phones, or social media. Twitter, in particular, has enabled messages to spread like wildfire and has been instrumental in a number of movements, both national and international, over the past decade.

October, which is Connected Educator Month, is a wonderful time for NCTE members to advocate through Twitter using two hashtags: #WhatWeHonor and #WhyIWrite. You can advocate generally by just posting on your own page, or you can tweet directly to your elected representatives using the Twitter handles outlined in Twitter as an Advocacy Tool and Governors Play a Key Role in Education.

During October, NCTE is inviting educators to participate in its Innovations in Assessments theme. Among other activities, you can tweet using the hashtag #WhatWeHonor to identify assessment practices and activities we ought to focus our assessment energy on—besides standardized tests.

For example, in its 2015 Education Policy Platform, NCTE notes the importance of “multiple measures” and “new and innovative forms of assessment” such as “portfolios, performance assessments, and competency-based models.” The platform says that assessments must be “fair and equitable.” Assessments should “[p]rovide teachers with the information they need to improve instruction, [h]elp students learn and [p]rovide parents with information about students’ development.”

Sample tweets from this document might look like this:

  • #WhatWeHonor: Assessments that are fair and equitable
  • #WhatWeHonor: Assessments that employ multiple measures

Also this month, we celebrate NCTE’s Seventh Annual National Day of Writing. We encourage all educators to participate in the Tweet-Up on October 20 using the #WhyIWrite hashtag and include visual representations in photos, film, and graphics.

Looking for inspiration? Feel free to review NCTE’s Position Statements on Writing.  Writing is a complex and varied activity that takes a great deal of skill and practice to teach well. Wouldn’t it be great if these truths were more obvious to decision makers at all levels of influence?  Consider using this hashtag as a form of advocacy for what writing is and what the teaching of it should be.

In 140 characters, you, your students, and members of your community can engage as well as inform. By sharing through Twitter, you can reach hundreds of people if your tweet is favorited, shared or retweeted. Take this month to advocate for your profession, yourself, and your students by tweeting #WhatWeHonor and #WhatIWrite.