Tag Archives: Twitter

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.

The Unbearable Lightness of Tweeting

This post is written by member Bridget Fullerton. 

b_fullerton-photo_webThough we know that our students are always-already writers, asking them to think of themselves as such can seem like a burdensome prospect. When I ask my students on the first day of class how they feel about academic writing, too many of them look forlorn and express frustration, anxiety, boredom, or a lack of connection. When I ask them about their texting practices or the social media they engage in, however, they perk up and the conversation turns giggly. “That’s writing?” they ask. “Isn’t that just talking to our friends?”

Well, yes. It is. But it’s also a significant rhetorical practice. Indeed, I can remember a time in the late 80s and early 90s when “just talking to my friends” involved a decent amount of covert drafting and revision and even a thoughtful consideration of medium and rhetorical audience. Yes, I’m talking about the joy of passing notes. Though not really efficient, note-passing was fun and it was writing. Indeed, I wrote some of my best poetry and song lyrics in the notes I passed to my friends. Being terribly shy as a teenager, I would also venture to guess that my most honest opinions and authentic voice came through in many of those angst-ridden scribblings.

It was also a very physical process, with a clear social purpose and its own unique constraints. A note had to be covertly written, folded just so, and exchanged slyly through trusted channels in order to reach its intended audience at the opportune moment. You couldn’t ask too many other friends to join in the transfer because the risk of public scandal proportionately increased with the amount of hands involved in an exchange. And you would never think to bring adults into the conversation.

Now, I don’t remember any high school teachers confiscating a note I’d written and using it as a teaching moment, but in honor of the National Day on Writing I intend to embrace social media as a similarly significant rhetorical practice worth incorporating in my classroom. For one, I believe social media moves us beyond some of the constraints to which note-passing was subject in interesting ways. It allows students to make their ideas public, for example, even if those ideas are only 140 characters or fewer. And when these ideas are targeted toward a particular topic (e.g., hashtagged), large groups of young people—and adults—can engage in a momentary writing connection that reaches far beyond the walls of a classroom or university and that offers the possibility of new ways of thinking about an issue together.

Social media also allows students to practice a lighter form of writing—a form that perhaps is too often eschewed in order get to the more serious business of academic and college-level writing. This is an important business to be certain, but why can’t students write sometimes just for fun—to giggle, to laugh, to enjoy, or to respond lightly to something and trust that that is writing too? Indeed, taking a few moments in a writing class to play with words might lead students to some deeper insights that intellect alone cannot reach.

On this October 20th, then, I intend to make the #WhyIWrite tweetup a teaching moment and will invite my fellow university writing instructors to do the same. The experience may be fleeting, but I hope together we can enjoy the unbearable lightness of Tweeting and be open to the rhetorical insights it brings us.

Bridget Fullerton (@magistrafull), NCTE member since 2014, is a PhD candidate (A.B.D.) in the Department of English at the University of Rhode Island. She also teaches courses and serves as First-Year Writing Coordinator for the Department of Writing & Rhetoric. Her interests include multimodal composition and ePortfolios, curriculum design and assessment, writing program administration and professional development, and social justice and feminist pedagogy.

Twitter as an Advocacy Tool

MegaphoneThe following post was written by Lu Ann McNabb for the new Friday Advocacy feature of this blog.

According to Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) will consider and mark up the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) the week of April 13.

Chairman John Kline of the House Education and the Workforce Committee is working to bring H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, back to the floor, urging education advocates to remind their representatives that no action on ESEA means that the current law is unchanged.

For the next week, Congress will be on recess working in their home districts. One good way to urge them to take action on ESEA during this period is to send them a tweet. Below are the Twitter handles of the members of both education committees.

Senate HELP Committee

Republicans by Rank
Lamar Alexander (TN) (Chairman) @SenAlexander
Michael B. Enzi (WY) @SenatorEnzi
Richard Burr (NC) @SenatorBurr
Johnny Isakson (GA) @SenatorIsakson
Rand Paul (KY) @SenRandPaul
Susan Collins (ME) @SenatorCollins
Lisa Murkowski (AK) @lisamurkowski
Mark Kirk (IL) @SenatorKirk
Tim Scott (SC) @SenatorTimScott
Orrin G. Hatch (UT) @SenOrrinHatch
Pat Roberts (KS) @SenPatRoberts
Bill Cassidy, M.D. (LA) @BillCassidy

Democrats by Rank
Patty Murray (WA) @PattyMurray
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD) @SenatorBarb
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT) @SenSanders
Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA) @SenBobCasey
Al Franken (MN) @alfranken
Michael F. Bennet (CO) @SenBennetCO
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) @SenWhitehouse
Tammy Baldwin (WI) @SenatorBaldwin
Christopher S. Murphy (CT) @ChrisMurphyCT
Elizabeth Warren (MA) @SenWarren

House Education & the Workforce Committee

John Kline,MN (Chairman) @repjohnkline
Joe Wilson, SC @USRepJoeWilson
Virginia Foxx, NC @virginiafoxx
Duncan Hunter, CA @Rep_Hunter
David P. Roe, TN @DrPhilRoe
Glenn Thompson, PA @CongressmanGT
Tim Walberg, MI @RepWalberg
Matt Salmon, AZ @RepMattSalmon
Brett Guthrie, KY @RepGuthrie
Todd Rokita, IN @ToddRokita
Lou Barletta, PA @RepLouBarletta
Joseph J. Heck, NV @RepJoeHeck
Luke Messer, IN @RepLukeMesser
Bradley Byrne, AL @RepByrne
Dave Brat, VA @RepDaveBrat
Buddy Carter, GA @RepBuddyCarter
Mike D. Bishop, MI @RepMikeBishop
Glenn Grothman, WI @RepGrothman
Steve Russell, OK @RepRussell
Carlos Curbelo, FL @RepCurbelo
Elise Stefanik, NY @RepStefanik
Rick Allen, GA @RepRickAllen

 Robert “Bobby” Scott, VA(Senior Democratic Member) @repbobbyscott
Rubén Hinojosa, TX @USRepRHinojosa
Susan A. Davis, CA @RepSusanDavis
Raúl M. Grijalva, AZ @RepRaulGrijalva
Joe Courtney, CT @RepJoeCourtney
Marcia L. Fudge, OH @RepMarciaFudge
Jared Polis, CO @jaredpolis
Gregorio Sablan, Northern Mariana Islands (no twitter handle)
Frederica S. Wilson, FL @RepWilson
Suzanne Bonamici, OR @RepBonamici
Mark Pocan, WI @repmarkpocan
Mark Takano, CA @RepMarkTakano
Hakeem S. Jeffries, NY @RepJeffries
Katherine M. Clark, MA @RepKClark
Alma S. Adams, NC @RepAdams
Mark DeSaulnier, CA @RepDeSaulnier

For ideas of what to tweet, we created the following examples using NCTE’s 2015 Recommendations for Policymakers:

@Representative: Provide ongoing opportunities for comprehensive literacy education #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Provide funding for professional learning for teachers that includes protected time for collaboration #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Ensure Title I funding goes to districts with greatest number of students lacking economic opportunities #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Fund research on assessments that are proven effective; give states & localities flexibility to implement #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Fund research on effective assessments: portfolios, performance assessments, and competency-based models #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Use yearly standardized tests for data re: students’ literacy learning to make evidence-based decisions #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Use standardized tests to hold leaders accountable for equity. Disaggregate data for all subgroups #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Use testing only for the purposes and in the manner for which it has been proven valid #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Tests designed to measure school performance should not be used to evaluate individual teachers #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Tests should be used in ways that minimize time away from instruction #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Tests should offer appropriate accommodations to students with special needs #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Tests should not exclude students with special needs from challenging literacy learning opportunities #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Fund research, professional learning & teacher prep to support formative assessment #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Fund research, professional learning & teacher prep to give teachers, students & parents info on progress #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Support innovation in assessments for accountability: they should be targeted & use multiple measures #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Fund research, technical assistance & professional development focused on formative assessment #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Dedicate funds for professional learning that includes protected time in school for teacher collaboration #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Authorize under ESEA $500 million for a comprehensive literacy program #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Dedicate funds ensuring comprehensive literacy programs integrate literacy instruction across disciplines #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Dedicate funds ensuring literacy programs promote evidence-based approaches to the teaching of writing #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Dedicate funds ensuring comprehensive literacy programs promote inclusion of diverse & multimedia texts #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Dedicate funds to ensure adequate bandwidth for all students to access and create resources #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Dedicate funds making ed tech accessible, ensuring all students have access to correct tools #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Dedicate funds to offer engaging, developmentally appropriate literacy education to all preschool learners #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Support dedicated funding streams to enable professional development for all literacy educators #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Fund quality universal early childhood education #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Fund access to quality teaching and learning environments & equitable support for all public schools #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Provide funding/flexibility to give teachers time to collaborate for professional learning #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Provide funding/flexibility to identify/promote strategies to develop leadership potential of principals #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Provide funding/flexibility to provide teachers with time for building teacher inquiry & decision making #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Provide funding/flexibility to identify/promote strategies to develop leadership potential of teachers #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Provide funds/flexibility to develop/implement innovative approaches for preservice & early career teachers #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Provide funds/flexibility to develop knowledge/strategies for parents to make informed decisions re: child #literacyadvocacy

@Representative: Provide funds/flexibility to develop knowledge/strategies for communities to make informed decisions #literacyadvocacy

#NCTEChat Sunday, November 16 8pm ET

buttonsinacirclePlease join us this Sunday November 16 at 8 pm ET / 7 pm CT for #NCTEChat where we’ll be discussing a new storytelling project that launches this week.

NCTE is looking for stories about what works in literacy education — we want to highlight solutions — particularly those that address what it takes for classrooms, schools, districts and communities to reach their full literacy potential.

We’ll be using these questions to guide the conversation:

Q1: How can/does your school value literacy as everyone’s job?

Q2: How can/does your school value inquiry in teaching and learning?

Q3: How can/does your school value shared leadership?

Q4: How can/does your school value authentic evidence of learning?

Q5: How can/does your school value time for collaboration?

Q6: As we think about the theme of #ncte14, what stories aren’t being told in education today?

Q7: How do we use these stories to make change?