The Answer to Holiday Packets

‘Twas the night before (the end of) Christmas (break), when all through the packet
Not a student had opened, not even the Gifted;
The packets were made by the teacher with care,
In hopes that a student would prepare;
The students were up late, not even in their beds;
She had hopes that content would stay in their heads

Have you been in this situation too? You go through the effort of putting together packets for your students to complete over a long Holiday break so they do not forget all the content they have learned so far that year, but no one completes or even starts the packet?

Well, I have an idea for you. Not only will this idea save you time grading some boring packets, which I know some teachers will not even grade, it will also save you time putting together! Remember, make learning fun! If you make it fun, they will be more apt to complete it and more likely to retain the information. Using a platform that differs from what the students are used to is one way to make learning more interesting.

Holiday packets are sure to get lost, spilled upon, eaten by a dog, or simply buried in the pile of papers at the bottom of the book bag. Social media is something that most students are already using, just not for educational purposes.  Social media is never lost, eaten, or buried. If we are being honest, it is in the back pocket of their jeans right now or even in the students’ hands right now as they update their current relationship status’…which will change again in a week or two.

If you don’t already have a professional Twitter account, now would be a good time to create one. Why do you need a professional account? Um…because your students do not need to know what you do on the weekends or your response to trending hashtags. Your professional account will be one that you only post things that pertain to work and your classroom.  Once created, share your Twitter handle with students and parents and encourage them to follow you. Over the long Holiday create an “EdChat”. For example, say my last name is King. I would create a unique hashtag like #KingOfSs (I teach Social Studies). I would post an interesting Social Studies article that went along with what my students were learning, ask a question pertaining to the article, then use the hashtag #KingOfSs. The students who are following me would then read the article, answer the question, and use the hashtag. Twitter will automatically filter all #KingOfSs on to one page. Now, all I have to do is go on to my Twitter account and see who has answered the question.

This can be planned way in advanced. You can have multiple questions and release them on specific days and specific times! Using Buffer.com, you can set up your questions and tell it when to post to your Twitter account. Make it a challenge. Let students know what times a chat will begin. The first to respond get x number of points.The one who re-tweets and responds to the most students get x number of points. Have a close time for the chat. Now matter where your students are, you know they have their phone on them. I’m guessing yours is next to you right now as you read this! It is now time to sit back and enjoy that eggnog!

Steps to Greatness:

Step 1: Find an article you want your students to read
Step 2: Copy the link and paste it into Buffer.com (Underlined in pic)
Step 3: Use your unique** Hashtag (highlighted in pic), number your question, and ask your question (Highlighted & Underlined in pic)
Step 4: Pick what time you want it to be posted to your Twitter account.


**To check to ensure your hashtag is unique, go to the search bar in Twitter, type in your hashtag idea and search. If nothing comes up, it is yours!

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