Student Research Projects in a “Tweet”

My blog title is a little misleading. We haven’t yet tweeted these out via our classroom Twitter account, but we will be doing that next week. (Here is our Twitter account:

On Friday, as we started nearing the ending phase of a student research project around an inquiry theme of their choosing that has been underway for the past two weeks, I had them do some reflection on how things have been going. One of their tasks was to write a summary of their project — in less than 15 words. This gave me an opportunity to talk again about summary writing, about focusing on the center of a piece of writing without the extraneous material and thinking that comes along with it, about synthesizing an idea to its core. It’s also the perfect Tweet-sized blast of an idea, right?

Some students really struggled with this (I set it up with 15 boxes and the instructions were to use only those boxes — one per word — and no more. It could be less than 15 words, however). Others found the confines of word liberating, in a way. It’s funny how different activities bring out various strengths and weaknesses in them as writers.

Here are some of the research sentences summaries that students wrote:

“Fast food should be healthy food in the United States.” — Shea

“Solar-powered cars will help the world if we invest in them.” — Ryan

“Marine animals have been driven out of their homes due to high mercury levels.” — Isaac

“More recess means more activities and less obese people because they get more exercise.” — David

“Ethanol is efficient but it would decimate our food supply and farmers could go bankrupt.” — Andrew

“Overfishing is a driving pressure that has devastating impacts on marine ecosystems.” — Nick

“Health care costs too much for people to afford.” — Colin

“Gas prices in America and China are too high and we need to lower them.” — Greg

I think they did a pretty good job and their papers and research inquiries are coming along nicely (if slowly).

Peace (in the tweet),

  1. I love this and can definitely see myself using it with my own research project and various other writing practices in my classroom! Though my students and I have ventured into other online mediums (e.g. blogs), we have yet to create a Twitter account and “tweet”. But we just might have to! How else have you utilized Twitter in your classroom? What is the student response? Parent response? Thanks for the fabulous idea!

  2. Ok, how much do I adore you at the moment? We are just setting up our research work, and I love this idea. Kids have to have their research question selected by this Friday and so of course in some cosmic way you come along and save the day. Tell me more about setting up the Twitter Account. I have always just used mine to share the work, but I like the idea of creating a new one. Is this one you will use for the year or just this project?
    On another note…
    I am getting 30 new students this week (about 10 per class) due to changes in our English Language Learner program so our class philosophy of the week is “each one,teach one.” We are creating blogs that will host our research project and all writing by the end of the year. Trying to create a digital portfolio space and allow for some sort of interaction along with meeting our district standards. So glad I will have a 3 week break to sleep, then refine this process beginning Friday. Have a great week Kevin!!

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