American Dream Twitter Chat

On 2/21/2014 Miss Alfredo’s English and Mr. Reilly’s Technology classes at Palisades High School conversed with students from five other schools throughout Pennsylvania to discuss the concept of the American Dream along with its ties to John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men.  

Link here for a  Storify transcript of the chat that took place (it is in reverse order)  You will need to go through approximately five pages of chat transcript to arrive at the beginning.

In addition to the preparation shared here (which were slightly adjusted as time went on), we also came up with student roles for such a chat (see below).  Due to our own issues with schedule interruptions from bad weather this winter, our students did not actually fulfill these roles. Even so, they have been created to encourage use of the roles for the future.

Student Roles:

FACILITATOR (the host):

“Welcome!  Today we will be discussing the American Dream and  John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men.  We look forward to learning more about the novel by discussing it with other students.  Please use the hashtag #OMMAD whenever you participate in our conversation today.  We will now begin with our first question: … (adjust all to 140 characters)

Facilator will:

  • lead conversation following pre-determined schedule

  • identify when think time should occur and for how long

  • generate conversation when lagging by utilizing sub-questions

  • share resources (may be interactive board or outside resource on the topic)

  • welcome people as they arrive

  • follow up comments with supportive/positive reaction to tweets (make chat feel like family)

  • thank people for participating and making our conversation powerful which has increased everyone’s understanding the concept or novel.


The communicator’s role will be:

This is very rare, but it is important that if negative or inappropriate comments occur they should be dealt with immediately.

Please say something like “@___________ twitter etiquette dictates negative comments and conversations move to a different medium. We welcome  differing points of view but want to  keep it positive and productive in our forum!


The role of the archivist will be to:

  • prepare with a test run of Storify

  • Run Storify with event, paste it into desired space (most likely public Google Doc) and clean it up.

  • Indicate to teacher when it is ready to be shared.

So What is our Reaction to the Chat?

It was fun; It felt alive; It was energizing to chat about a concept/novel we studied with others who were doing the same!

The downside:  it was random and loose and hard to follow.

My response:  sharing the archive will allow teachers to dissect the content and utilize as needed.  I also would like to organize some of the main questions into a blog setting (which is a little more static) for classes to interact with in the future.  I believe this was a great springboard!

A HUGE Thank you!!!!!! to Robin Burns, Allison Carpenter, Dawn Cunningham, and Patty McLain, and Dan Newman for joining us with your classes!


4 thoughts on “American Dream Twitter Chat

  1. Allison Carpenter says:

    Thank you Karen, teachers, and students for your preparation, organization, and perseverance! I too thought it was a lively discussion that had many twists and turns.

    I am curious about the other sites; how did you engage in the chat?

    We had only one computer with access to twitter. My class of 26 ninth grade English students took turns responding to questions that were posted. To keep everyone engaged I required all students to keep a document of the questions we replied to and to jot down how they would have replied. We will share documents in our next class to debrief the discussion.

    My students were excited and nervous to respond to your questions. To keep things moving I picked the next responder by rolling dice to decide who went next. This method got a few students who don’t usually volunteer participation to get in on the action.

  2. khornberger says:

    Thank you, Allison! I like how you are using the chat as a springboard to further students’ understanding of the concept. That is the ultimate goal that I dreamed of! I also like the idea with the dice – the thing that I love about communicating via technology is that shy/quiet students begin to converse and begin to interact in a conversation that they may not have in a traditional classroom setting.

  3. […] have a new favorite for both archiving a Twitter Chat and following a hashtag for Twitter research (in lieu of opening a Twitter account)  It is […]

  4. […] are the questions from our Twitter Chat on the “American Dream” and Of Mice and Men (which was given the hashtag #OMMAD)  Many […]

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