A school-wide Twitter competition during which teachers "share their greatness," modeling positive use of social media in our school.

Photo of Theresa Christensen
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While guiding students in posting positively, the staff on my high school's Digital Democracy team ,"Viking Network," created an event to promote the beneficial use of social media in school. We offered all teachers, coaches and activity sponsors to take part in a #TeacherTakeover. As a week-long event with prizes, we invited all staff to share via Twitter some of the great things going on at our high school, William Fremd High School in Palatine, IL.  Everything from unique student projects to team achievements and club milestones to creative bulletin boards were shared. Teachers throughout the school, some of whom never tried Twitter before, joined in on the competition and further developed our school's PLN. The goal of #TeacherTakeover @ThisIsFHS was initially to illustrate the benefits of utilizing social media to engage, connect and motivate with a platform many students already regularly use . . .  but became much more. 

Because of the wide, cross-curricular response and active engagement of staff and students, as a follow-up, we will be turning the tables and giving the students the lead online. We will be offering the "3 Words Challenge," inviting students to post a 20-second-or-less video that answers the question, "What does 'FHS Unite' mean to you?" in THREE words. We will invite students to work alone, with a group of friends, as a class, a team or a club. The video with the most favorites and/or retweets wins the grand prize (prototype of specific instructions attached). 

This follow-up event will invite students to collaboratively utilize their creative skills while highlighting the positive things that they love about their school.  This promotes a kind, positive school culture along with a sense of belonging. Additionally, asking students to share using only 3 words, and limiting that share through a 20-second-or-less video, guides students to be cognizant of the purpose of their message and, thus, practice positive communication online.

Viking Network Team @ThisIsFHS:

Hamid Mehreioskouei, Assistant Principal

Theresa Christensen, English Teacher

Katie Johnson, Dean of Students/Family & Consumer Science Teacher

Jason Hogrefe, Physical Education Teacher

Keith Sorensen, Technology Coordinator

David Strykowski, Business Teacher

Share research or student experiences that informed your idea!

#TT was a productive event in not only modeling positive use of social media while highlighting student work but also in connecting teachers, opening doors for collaboration & positive culture. As documented in "12 Reasons to Get Your School District Tweeting This Summer" by Joe Mazza/Edutopia, Twitter provides an accessible platform for "an effective, innovative, student-focused community of teaching and learning." https://www.edutopia.org/blog/12-reasons-school-district-tweeting-joe-mazza.
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Attachments (3)

3 Words Challenge.pdf

Here is a prototype of our next event. As a follow-up to the #TeacherTakeover event, we will be offering a new challenge to the students. In similar fashion as the teacher competition, students will be invited to share (using only three words!) what unity around our school means to them.


The email sent to staff a few days before the event, detailing the rules of the #TeacherTakeover competition.


Slip placed in teacher mailboxes, reminding them of the #TeacherTakeover event. We placed this in the mailboxes the evening before the first day of the event.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jennifer Gaspar- Santos

Hi Theresa,

Have you seen Nancy Watson's twitter lesson: https://collaborate.teachersguild.org/challenge/digital-citizenship/build/digcit6wordstories

I wonder if the teachers can start with 6 word stories --- for the teachers that struggle with what to share on twitter or teachers that don't use social media at all. They can still model good behavior by creating a short 6 word lesson on good citizenship and how that might transfer online.

Can you add 2 or 3 more screenshots of models to this container for teachers to see? So they can take those ideas and share it back with their teachers? More ideas, the better!

Can't wait to see your final build!

Photo of Theresa Christensen

Thank you for your feedback, Jen! Yes, Nancy Watson's twitter lesson is a fabulous way to get kids practicing good behavior online while becoming cognizant of the meaning and significance of digital citizenship. What a good idea for 6-word stories . . . . stay tuned for our updates!! We will definitely be adding more resources teachers that'll coincide with our plan.

Photo of Paul Kim

Hi Theresa,

First of all, thanks for participating in this collaboration between the Teachers Guild and ISTE. We really appreciate your contributions!

We’re in the last week of the build phase of the challenge on digital citizenship so it’s time to fine tune your idea before final voting begins next week.

Here are some things to consider as you continue to build on your idea:
- is your idea clear and will it inspire action from other teachers?
- would it be easy for a teacher to incorporate your idea about digital citizenship in their classroom?
- does your idea include some component of research and are there shareable resources?
- is your idea student-centered and does it promote agency?


Photo of Theresa Christensen

Thank you, Paul!! Looking forward to building more with our contribution this week!

Photo of John Faig

Once the students have reviewed the positive digital interactions, have them start their own PLC.

Photo of Theresa Christensen

That's a good idea for extension, John! The PLC could give the students opportunity to discuss components and advantages of positive social media usage in school before, as Kevin suggests below, they create their own "Student Takeover." Thanks for the comment!

Photo of Trever Reeh

Awesome idea!

Photo of Theresa Christensen

Thank you, Trever! It was a worthwhile event at our school!

Photo of Kevin Day

What a lovely idea -- and in a season when (excuse me) those at the highest positions of power and social influence in our country seem intent upon brandishing Twitter as a bludgeon.
Frankly, I'd love for my school to embark upon a similar idea -- both as a way to get more of my faculty team active on Twitter (which I've found to be a real lifeline in my teaching and learning life), but also to encourage students to engage with members of their school family in a new way.

Your idea makes me wonder if there could be another phase here -- one in which students (with appropriate teacher framing, of course), could lead a "student takeover" on Twitter or Instagram -- and invite a teachable moment for their teachers to engage in another kind of social media?

Thanks for putting this great idea out there.

Photo of Theresa Christensen

Thank you so much, Kevin, for your feedback!! We really appreciate it! It truly was a positive experience for our school, getting more teachers engaged with each other in new ways along with students more motivated from that engagement. I say, go for it at your school! A couple weeks prior to #TeacherTakeover, we held a fun #MediaMakeover event in our library, offering students a chance for prizes and a snapped picture with our Victor Viking mascot after giving their own social media profiles a "grade" based on quick digital safety tips we shared. We're a newly formed group this year, and our school never had anything like this before. So our first goal with these two events was to get students and staff aware of what we're all about - that is, creating a digital world that is positive and safe for our students and staff. I really like your idea about following up with a student version of #TT. I'll definitely share this with our team!