February 27, 2013
For most of us, social media is something we learned at an older age, but kids in elementary school really don't know a life without smart phones, touch screens, and Facebook.
Using social media in kindergarten started when a Meriwether-Lewis Elementary school teacher, Michael Thornton, wanted to connect, share photos, and engage his students with other classes.
Paige Paridis, a kindergarten teacher at Broadus Wood Elementary, is collaborating with Meriwether-Lewis to incorporate technology in her classroom.
"Their parents have had smart phones, they've had touch screen technology available to them both inside and outside the classroom," said Paridis. "So, it seemed only natural to use it in a kindergarten class."
The kindergarteners are issuing #kinderchallenge over Twitter to several classrooms across the county. In Wednesday's case, the students challenged classes to build traditional Native American homes.
"They are actually able to post challenges onto Twitter and send them directly to other classes," said Paridis.
William Lawson, a kindergartener at Broadus Wood Elementary, explained how it all works: "To tell other people to do challenges."
Using social media is part of a greater theme; to teach students more about things in their everyday lives.
"Right now, we are learning about Pocahontas and it's hard because most of them have seen the movies and so they have a lot of ideas and prior knowledge," said Paradis.
After issuing the challenges, they post pictures of their projects.
Braelyn Wegscheid, a kindergartener at Broadus Wood Elementary, said, "We tried to build it with all the stuff. With stuff around it and then put the paper on top but, it didn't work."
Throughout the year, the students are using Twitter as a learning tool by asking questions to experts around the country. With each tweet, they are learning something new.
Madison Davis, a kindergartener at Broadus Wood Elementary, said she learned that "Pocahontas got married and then she got sick on the ship. She got married and she had one kid and his name was Thomas."
In addition to Twitter, the class blogs, uses email, and Skypes with other classes around the country.