Friday, February 21, 2014


Tweet on behalf of a character

The cellular view (click the photo to view it bigger)
When my students read stories I like to give them different assignments to keep things interesting. For example, I may have them draw a character, make a soundtrack for a chapter, or create a Twitter account for a character.

"Pretend a character had a cell phone. Create a fake Twitter account for this character (on paper, not online). This should include a username, picture, description/bio, and FOUR tweets (one from each chapter). The tweets should make it clear that 1. You read the chapter and 2. You understand the character. You can tweet what they were thinking, feeling, or hoping."

This student used stickers! (click it to view it bigger)
Another artsy one! (click to view it bigger)
The results are usually entertaining. The students enjoy making them, and I think they show more comprehension than a simple summary. Rather than telling me what they read, they are inferring and predicting what one of the characters thinks about it. These higher level thinking skills are key!

I love how some students made the project look like their smartphone. That is, after all, how they usually view Twitter.

Some got really artistic with it and used their  creativity to make different designs, and pictures they felt would best suit the character.

Chris Chambers computer made account (click to view it bigger)
Others preferred to use sample layouts (available online) and make their Twitter account on the computer (in Microsoft Word, Paint, or Photoshop)

What is really fun about this is sometimes students look outside of the main characters and choose to focus on a lesser known character. This really let's them use their creativity and develop a character; sometimes further than the author had the opportunity to do.

A lesser seen character. Milo's Twitter. (click to view it bigger)
In this post you can see an example of each "type" of submission.

Each one shows a knowledge of the character. For example, one student chose to give Teddy a camouflage background knowing he admired his military father.

The student who selected Milo Pressman made his avatar a ferocious dog since Milo is the owner of Chopper.

Many of the students picked clever usernames for their accounts such as: GordonInvisibleBoy since Gordie says his parents always ignore him.

In short, even though these projects are shorter than say, a summary of each chapter. I feel like I can still assess who did the reading.

You can easily adapt this to a short story, or change the frequency by making them tweet more per chapter.

I also know teachers who have students make these accounts online and interact with one another.

While that may be an option for me in the future, right now privacy issues and students with varying levels of Internet access prohibit this.

Nonetheless, I think doing it on paper still gets the same results! If you get a chance to do this (or do something similar now) let me know in the comments. I'd love to see what you do differently, or what worked (and didn't) for you!

Interesting in doing this activity with your students? You can download a copy of the assignment (with examples and a rubric) on Teachers Pay Teachers.(If you haven't signed up yet you can register for free here)


  1. I like that idea! Will try to use it also :)

    1. Thanks Krisli. Let me know how it works out for you :)

  2. Replies
    1. You are welcome Anar! Thanks for taking the time to comment. It means a lot to me :)

  3. HI Carissa,

    Just to let you know that we’ve shortlisted this blog post for this month’s TeachingEnglish blog award and I’ll be making a post about it on Saturday’s TeachingEnglish Facebook page, if you’d like to check there for likes and comments.


    1. Thanks for the heads up :) I'll be sure to stop by and respond to some comments if there are any questions, and thank you again for the shortlisting. It is ALWAYS an honor.

  4. Great idea Carissa. Just love this and your students work.

    1. Thanks Lorraine :) I am really proud of my students' work here.


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