Social Media and HCDS

“Thank you so much for all the updates and pictures on your website. We don’t always have time to comment, but we love seeing everything. We truly appreciate it!”  C.F.

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I want to make it as easy as possible for Hogarth parents to connect with their child’s experiences here at HCDS, and to become super-informed about the world of early childhood education. To that end, I try to update the blog regularly here at the HCDS website. I also maintain a page at Facebook for Hogarth where I post timely bits of information, as well as the books we’re reading in class and links out to early childhood and education-related articles.

I also want to make it easy for parents to expand their knowledge of child development and early childhood education. To that end, I have a Professional Reading Pinterest Board you may find interesting.

HCDS also has a presence on Twitter. I have to say, I was dragged kicking and screaming to tweeting. I thought it would be just a bunch of mundane ramblings (in 140 characters or less) from people blathering on about the minutiae of their lives. I was right, but what I didn’t know, was that it was SO much more. I’m acquainted with a few writers who tweet, and because I’m a tad nosy I had to check out what they were doing. It took a few minutes to adjust “2 the shrthnd” (the abbreviations and funky spellings still bug the English major in me), but once I got beyond my nitpicking, I discovered a whole world of information that I really wanted to have. I set up @HogarthSchool and started following people and organizations tweeting about writing and education. I was hooked. In case you’re wondering, here’s a video that answers the question, Why would any Educator want to use Twitter?

I started tweeting with my students @HogarthKids in early March 2011. The account is protected, which means people can’t read the tweets unless I approve their requests to “follow” @HogarthKids. I would rather have left the kids’ tweets public. What they have to say is so smart and funny and fantastic that I think lots of people would enjoy reading their tweets. The main reason I did this was I didn’t want any trolls coming along and leaving snarky comments. If you have friends and relatives you’d like to send over to @HogarthKids, let me know who they are so that when their requests to follow come in I can approve them. And please, don’t hesitate to leave comments and notes about the tweets up at the Twitter site. I’ll read your comments to the children whose tweets you’re responding to.

I’m so pleased with the direction this grand experiment is taking. I noticed that within the first few days of tweeting, the children’s thoughts started becoming more fully formed and personally meaningful to them. Here’s what I mean. Camryn was listening to Olivia tweet with me. Olivia tweeted: Space dogs like to eat space bones. Space dogs like to chase space cats & the cats like to chase outer space mouse. She had more to say, so she did a second tweet: Space flamingos like to walk on outer space water. They like to stand on 1 foot & they say Please when they want something to eat.

Camryn was astonished. “You mean we can make stuff up?!” I told her that tweeting was a way of writing, and that tweeting makes her an author. I told her that some authors write fiction, and others write nonfiction. If she wanted to write fiction, then she needed to make up her own story. She was thrilled, and immediately tweeted this: One time Camryn went to the woods & saw a big, bad wolf & she went to her Grandma’s house. She got there before the wolf ate her.

Look what Camryn has done here. She gave her readers a hero who overcomes obstacles to achieve a goal. We have rising and falling tension and a satisfying resolution. In those two little sentences, we have an entire story.

I’ll leave you with a tweet from 3-year-old Zephan, who I think might be a philosopher: I want to sort out the whole universe.

2 Responses to Social Media and HCDS

  1. Robyn Conte says:

    Andrea,

    How many times can I say I’m in love?!? I love how you are using twitter to encourage our budding writers’ creativity. While some may poo-poo technology and our kids getting sucked in, you’ve made a wonderful example for all of us parents on how to “go with the flow.” Tweeting = creative journaling. LOVE IT!

    Keep up the great work. I also found another cool online tool called Artsonia. It is a wonderful, free, place to upload our children’s artwork. Friends/family can comment and even download art onto cups, calendars, etc. It’s a great tool for those of us who have extended family far from our home.

    Best,
    Robyn

    • Andrea says:

      I am so glad you’re enjoying @HogarthKids! I’m convinced that the more they tweet, the more invested the children will become in the writing process. By the time they’re able to independently put pen to paper, they have the potential to be way ahead of the writing curve.

      Thank you so, so much for sharing your thoughts with everybody, Robyn! Thanks, too, for the Artsonia tip. It sounds great.

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