When teachers know best

Not long after we empowered our district’s teachers to use social media in their classrooms, I saw a post from Mr. Stadalman’s Fifth Grade Facebook page. It was an afternoon post I’d seen for a few days prior, and it looked something like this:

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A mom of elementary age kids, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to know what happens at school each day. A quick summary from a student on a teacher Facebook page seemed a perfect way to keep parents engaged in classroom life. After seeing these updates, I reached out to Kyle to give him a virtual high five.

But it was his quick response that showed me the real power that social media offers a school system.

“Summarizing is typically very hard for fourth graders,” Kyle wrote. “So, to get the class to come up with the proper sentences has been challenging, but fun. We are getting a little desperate for new topic sentences, and it’s only September!”

I quickly learned that throughout the year, Kyle projects his laptop display on the classroom Promethean Board and invites one student up to the front to compose the summary on the class Facebook page. Students brainstorm as a class, while the post author records the ideas, adds any finishing touches and finally clicks “post” — an exciting privilege not lost on most tweens.

Leave it to an outstanding teacher to take such a simple, familiar tool as Facebook and use it not only to engage parents — but also as an instructional tool to help students practice essential skills in the curriculum.

When is the last time the teachers in your district were encouraged to experiment with social media in their classroom? It’s well worth the planning and training it takes to see teachers create great opportunities for students!

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