Using Twitter as a tool to create book reviews.

I find Twitter to be an amazing source of views, photos, news reports and celebrity snippets as well as a wonderful source of supportive CPD.  TeachMeets are arranged, talked about and promoted.  Ofsted advice is given by people who really understand what it is like to receive that phone call.  Classroom photographs, role play areas and working walls are shared as standard.  #planningpanic is a hashtag that dominates my timeline on a Sunday night.

Occasionally, I have wondered whether using Twitter as a teaching tool would be effective.  Currently I use it as a way of communicating with parents about the daily life in school, something I have found to be particularly beneficial to those parents who work and can’t always see through the classroom window at 3.30pm.

Last week I found myself in a planning session with a teacher.  Prior to the teacher arriving I had been checking Twitter and noticed that author of “Yeti and the Bird”, Nadia Shireen, was participating in a primary schools workshop in London.  I like her updates as they are a mix of humour, parenting and reading.  When the teacher arrived and said she was teaching a literacy unit on “authors and letters” I have to admit that Twitter wasn’t on my mind.  As the coaching session continued and the teacher talked about creating book reviews, I suddenly saw how Twitter could be used and be effective.  Not just technology for technology sake, but actually be a fantastic tool for learning with a real life purpose.  Short tweet reviews of a book would be an ideal way of getting the children writing in phase 1 of the literacy unit.

  • Using only 140 characters would help the children to consider and manipulate the language that they use in their review.
  • The language of ‘characters’ would make the teaching of punctuation more explicit.
  • The children could tweet a real author who would hopefully reply, what a fabulous way to engage them.
  • Giving the children a template with 140 boxes in would give them more awareness of why sentence structure is important.

I created this template (disclaimer – the photo is appalling, my target is to ensure the photo in my next blog post is an improvement) which can be found at

Awful photo, must try harder!

Awful photo, must try harder!

I then took to Twitter and tweeted @NadiaShireen, the author we had decided to tweet.  She replied and the planning was complete!

I can’t wait to see the tweets and replies on the working wall next time I visit this school.  Follow the hashtag #tweetreview on Twitter to track the progress if you wish.