Mean Tweets – Using Twitter to Create Historically Sarcastic Tweets – 15MS406
Mean Tweets – Using Twitter to Create Historically Sarcastic Tweets – 15MS406

This lesson is for : Grade 8:


Social Media is usually frowned upon in education. Teachers in general tend to view social media as a disruptive technology that can distract from classroom teaching and learning. However, if presented in the correct way, social media tools such as Twitter can enhance learning, engage students, and extend the learning environment. Jimmy Kimmel does a segment where celebrities read tweets about themselves on air. The Tweets are never flattering (mean tweets), but do on occasion provide the celebrities with some fan based feedback regarding a recent performance on which to reflect upon. This lesson borrows that idea and turns it into review for the students. Students are assigned/choose a historical figure that we have studied in World History. The student must then create a historically sarcastic or “mean” tweet about that figure based on their note taking and research. Needless to say, it is important to lay some initial ground rules as well as to establish a set of classroom norms prior to the students composing their mean Tweets. The norming ensures that student Tweets are not only mean, but offer an element of constructive criticism. The students enjoyed the overall experience which provided them with the opportunity to look back at their notes and think of them in an entirely different way. As an extension to this activity, the classes used a green screen to provide the appropriate setting/time period. Students were encouraged to dress up and respond to the mean Tweets in character.

TIPC Ratings

Research & Information Fluency

Rating: Approaching – Explanation: Students used notes in their interactive notebook as a framework for getting started. The teacher modeled research strategies to guide students by demonstrating how to use Google advanced search techniques as well as explaining how to utilize meta search queries to discover new information. Newly acquired information helped to make student tweets as authentic as possible. Students used their notebooks, online databases, Google docs, and an online Twitter generator in order to enhance the overall look and feel of the project. Students had to compare and contrast particular events in history in order to take a critical stance that could be summed up in 140 characters or less.

Communication & Collaboration

Rating: Approaching – Explanation: The teacher created a Google Site to publically house information for students and parents. This communication tool allowed for blended learning to occur within as well as beyond the classroom walls. Since Twitter is currently blocked by the counties filtering policy, students were required to problem solve in order to discover a way to bypass this issue. Students came up with the solution of using an unblocked online Twitter generator that feeds into a shared Google doc that would act as their Twitter timeline. The Tweets, as well as student video, was uploaded to the cloud in order to share it with general audiences regardless of time zone or physical distances.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Rating: Developing – Explanation: This lesson reexamined a modern day pop culture craze and melded it with historical research. Students had to make connections between learned information and how it might be deconstructed into 140 characters or less . They had to critically examine the importance of an influential figures impact on society and determine how a person of opposite views would represent them on Twitter.

Creativity & Innovation

Rating: Ideal – Explanation: Students use Twitter in everyday life. This lesson offered a twist and required that they think critically about historically significant events and apply that thinking in modern day terms. Throughout the lesson students had to apply research strategies, and implement various communication tools to make informed decisions about developing a mean Tweet. By providing constructive criticism to a past event in history, students were pushed to think about certain figures in a different light. This was demonstrated by their creativee Tweets as well as the student historical response to the Tweet in character. It was interesting to see the students take a large amount of information and deconstruct that information into 140 characters or less. Classes were also able to create a video applying a wide variety of green screen effects to enhance the overall look and feel of the project, hereby helping them to further reflect on their characters role in history.

Student Artifact

Lesson Materials

H21 Lesson Artifacts

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