4 Best Twitter Chats For English Teachers On Storify

Online Professional Learning Network

One of the best ways to connect with other educators — from the comfort of your living room, kitchen, back deck, bed, coffee shop, etc. — is through a Twitter chat. As an Oklahoma English teacher, I follow several hashtags for my subject area, and for my state. As I perused some of the chats, which have been archived on Storify.com, I found a few that I thought you might like to read:

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, skip to the instructions below.)

  • #complitchat: The Impact of Storytelling on Writing
    • Q1 Do you remember an influential story teller? How did they share their stories?
    • Q2 Why should teachers be storytellers?
    • Q3 How can storytelling enhance student writing?
    • Q4 How can you help students (or other teachers) see the value of story telling?
    • Q5 What strategies can we use to bridge storytelling to written stories?
  • #complitchat: Creating a Reading Culture
    • Q1 How can you establish the importance of reading through your classroom environment?
    • Q2 What are ways you can learn more about your students as individual readers?
    • Q3 How can we share the value of reading for enjoyment with families? Share your resources!
    • Q4 What text do you like to read at the beginning of the year to share your love of reading?
    • PLEDGE: What strategy will you use to ensure that your students fall in love with reading during the school year?
  • #complitchat: Independent Reading
    • Q1 What does independent reading time look like in your classroom or school?
    • Q2 How could it be improved?
    • Q3 What management system is used?
    • Q4 What do you (great teachers) do while students read independently?
    • Q5 How are students held accountable?
    • Q6 What book, article, author, or workshop was most influential on your independent reading practices or beliefs?
  • #engchat: 5-Paragraph Essay
    • Q1 Do you utilize the 5 paragraph essay in your writing curriculum? Why or why not?
    • Q2 Is there a value to using the 5 paragraph structure with specific types of writing?
    • Q3 Take a look at this article: http://t.co/Ha59uUeQ29 Do you agree or disagree?
    • Q4 What, in your opinion, is the true purpose for using the 5 paragraph essay — with beginning writers, and with experienced writers?
    • Q5 Is there a more effective method/strategy to teach structure and organization than the 5 paragraph essay?
    • Q6 Given the increasting utilization of technology in our classrooms, what is the value of specifying the length of an essay?
    • Q7 If the formulaic process of a 5 paragraph essay is irrelevant, how should essay organization be taught?
    • BONUS What is your favorite essay topic to assign and why?
  • #5thchat: Socratic Seminar and Student Discussions (DOC)
    • Q1 Briefly share your experience with Socratic Seminars. What grade have you used it with?
    • Q2 What are the benefits of engaging your students in Socratic seminars? How does it foster speaking and listening skils?
    • Q3 How do you set up Socratic seminar routines? Share your process for teaching communication skills before starting actual seminsras
    • Q4 How do you choose your seminar texts? Where do you find them? Any that you’d like to share?
    • Q5 Describe any modifications you’ve made to your seminars to improve classroom discussions.
    • Q6 Have you used Socratic seminar for subjects other than Reading/English? Please explain.
    • Q7 How have your students used any type of back channel during Socratic Seminars? Please explain.
    • Q9 What are some Socratic Seminar resources you can share with this PLN? Tips or advice for those starting out?


I stumbled a few more chats that I thought would be perfect for this list. Enjoy!

  • #teachwriting: 8/26 – Establishing Community
    • Q1 What are your biggest priorities with new writing students at the start of the year?
    • Q2 What are some of your favorite introductory lessons and activities you use at the beginning of the year?
    • Q3 What are some ways you build community among the writers in your classroom or workshop?
    • Q4 What do you think are some common obstacles to a supportive writing community? How can we avoid them?
    • Q5 How do you incorporate digital tools into building community among writers, at the beginning and throughout the year?
    • Q6 What are your hopes and dreams for your writers this school year? For yourself as a teacher of writing?
    • Q7 What are some tips to offer new teachers of writing about cultivating community at the beginning of the year?
  • #teachwriting: 9/9 – Differentiation
    • Q1 What part of the writing process do you think is most difficult for your students – planning, composing, or revising? Why?
    • Q2 What tools or strategies do you use to help students who struggle with the initial stages of the writing process (planning)?
    • Q3 What tools or strategies do you use to help students who struggle with the middle stages of the writing process (composing)?
    • Q4 What tools or strategies do you use to help students who struggle with the final stages of the writing process (revising and publishing)?
    • Q5 What about students who struggle with “putting it all together” – using the whole process? How do you help them?
    • Q6 What strategies do you use to differentiate for different writers in a writing workshop?
    • Q7 How do you use technology to help you differentiate for different writers?
    • Q8 How do you measure the effectiveness of your differentiation strategies, especially with your struggling writers?
  • #teachwriting: 9/23 – Motivating Writers
    • Q1 How do you motivate writers to work through the writing process? What are some pitfalls you’ve encountered?
    • Q2 What strategies do you feel work well to inspire writers to develop writing stamina?
    • Q3 How do you increase the volume of writing your students are producing?
    • Q4 What assignments/tasks do you use to energize the writing your students are doing?
    • Q5 What genres of writing do you find the most difficult to motivate Students to write?How do you support your struggling writers?
    • Q6 What mentor text have you used to increase student excitement to get writing?
    • Q7 How do you use technology to support writers in developing fluidity in process and craft?
    • Q8 How do you celebrate and honor the writing in your classroom/Writing Workshop?
  • #teachwriting: 10/7 – How do we help writers connect with real audiences?
    • Q1 What makes an audience real?
    • Q2 How do you help writers determine + connect with their best audiences?
    • Q3 When does it make sense for writers to share their work? When does it make sense for them to firewall?
    • Q4 Protecting time for authentic writing is critical. How do we do this in the face of high stakes testing?
    • Q5 How do you respond to writers who are reluctant to connect with a wider audience?
    • Q6 How do you help writers consider the unintended consequences of making their work public?
    • Q7 Please recommend markets, contests, communities + other outlets where young writers might connect with an audience
    • Q8 As writers strive to connect with audiences, how much support is too much for teachers to provide?
  • #teachwriting: 10/21 – Teaching writing through whole-class, small-group and 1-on-1 instruction
    • Q1 When do educators use whole class instruction during the teaching of writing? What are some favorite activities?
    • Q2 What components are needed in the framework for designing whole class instruction for writing?
    • Q3 How can a writer’s notebook be a metaphor when technology is involved?
    • Q4 When working with a small group on a common writing need, how can technology support their practice?
    • Q5 When do you use one-on-one conferring with young writers? How can technology assist in the communication, modeling, and follow-up?
    • Q6 Sharing is an important component in a writing classroom. How can young writers share their work with someone other than the traditional teacher?
    • Q7 What strategies and electronic tools allow young writers to display writing/skills mastered in a portfolio?
  • #teachwriting: 11/4 – Blogging
    • Q1 What is blogging?
    • Q2 What’s the difference between a blog and a website?
    • Q3 What functions do blogs serve in education?
    • Q4 What platforms do you recommend for blogging? Why?
    • Q5 What are ways to blog with your students?
    • Q6 How can blogging help improve student writing?
    • Q7 What is the best blogging tip you can offer others?

How to participate in a Twitter chat

A Twitter Chat is a pre-arranged chat that happens on Twitter through the use of a predefined hashtag. Members of the chat login to Twitter, and at the chat’s start time, discuss a specific issue with other people who are also following and commenting (tweeting) using the designated hashtag. For example, educators from across the state of Oklahoma login to Twitter and begin following the #oklaed hashtag at 8 p.m. every Sunday. Members append #oklaed to all their tweets that are part of the conversation.

Some applications, Nurph.com, enable you to enter the hashtag you wish to follow. The app will then display all tweets with that hastag, and automatically append said hashtag to your tweet.

These Twitter chats typically have a Q & A format, in which the moderator/host will post a questions in numerical order: Q1, Q2, Q3. Members will reply to the question using A1, A2, A3 as a short-hand method of identifying which questions are being answers. Members will also refer to teachers as Ts, Students as Ss, and Parents as Ps.

Related topics: Professional Development

About the author 

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education and co-Editor of the Oklahoma English Journal. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify students' voices and choices.

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