Improving Analysis Skills

140 Characters at a Time-TCEA

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"#Hashtag" with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon)


Years ago, Kim Carlton (current Academic Officer at Teacher Created Materials-former ELA Curriculum Director) realized how valuable anonymity can be when it comes to student responses. Twitter handles seemed like a fun way for students to participate in class while maintaining that anonymity. However, the amount of students with devices was not as numerous as it is today.

With more devices available to students, the time is perfect to revisit the original Tweethesis and take it forward.

Here We Go...

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Step One-Read and Post

  • Assign a piece for students to read
  • Decide what it is you want the students to construct: main idea, an argumentative statement, identify a thesis, etc.
  • Create and register a # so that all posts can be identified easily (Check out Twitter Chat options here)
  • Have students post using designated # (so they actually get a little less than 140 characters)

Step Two-Response Options

Have students respond to posts in various ways:

  • Comment and # big ideas (ex: I didn't think about it that way. #family #relationships #siblings)
  • Comment and include a URL of a resource that might support or argue the post (URL shorteners are HUGE here:,,, which is also a Chrome extension)
  • Retweet post using "Quote" option and write in a counter viewpoint

Step Three-Whole Class Dicussion

Whenever you close this activity, it doesn't have to be done in a day, have a Socratic Seminar over the piece the students read. Then they have all the posts and responses from the Twitter "chat" to use to help discussion.


  • Allow the students to decide on the # for the article and for the # for main ideas so everyone is using the same set
  • Modify ideas in Sentence Composing for High School or They Say I Say to also work on sentence construction with posts
  • Instead of using Twitter, use Instagram and tell the students their response must be visual. Think about how much harder that would be visualizing what a main idea or argument is for a piece. (Just keep in mind age restrictions for Twitter and Instagram.)

Participant Practice

Twitter Chat Activity

Be sure to tag your questions with #TCEA17ELA for this activity. You are also welcome to include #TCEA17.

Remember that when you respond to a question (Q1, Q2, etc.), you should include A1, A2, etc. before your answer.

It may be eerily quiet while the chat occurs. Never fear. We will only have three questions, and I will bring us all back together at the end.

BUT WAIT! My Students Are Too Young for a Twitter Account

It is very important to remember that social media apps like Twitter and Instagram do have an age restriction. Students must be 13 years or older; therefore, these might not be an option for your class. Even if your students are old enough, it is always a good idea to have parent permission before expecting them to use social media sites.

Fortunately, Twitter user @OCTRead posted a template created by @tammyworcester in Forms to allow students the opportunity to reply in Twitter form without having to have an account. Check out the images below and click here for a copy.

Meeting Standards

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This chart shows how ISTE Student Standards work with technology TEKS and can provide appropriate support for T-TESS.