This year one of my goals has been to increase the amount of writing in Latin that my students do. I wanted to do this in an authentic way without taking up too much time of either the students or myself. Inspired by a picture that I saw online, I’ve come up with a basic procedure that has been working well for me. I call it the Twitter Twacker.
I begin by having everyone say the phrase “Twitter Tracker” three times as fast as they can. It’s impossible to pronounce this normally; instead we all end up sounding like Elmer Fudd; because we’re in Latin class, I prefer to think of us as sounding like good ol’ Emperor Claudius (of I, Claudius fame). The Twitter Twacker is a poster that I adhere to the whiteboard. Each student writes a sentence on a post-it and then “tweets” by sticking the post-it onto the board.
This gives me a quick formative assessment of whatever grammatical concept we are working on as a class. The students enjoy it because they can be creative. I ask them to write their name in the Twitter convention, using the @ symbol. Some students want to also use hashtags.
Some draw pictures that illustrate the sentences, or even draw their own “avatar”.
Some imitate the Twitter user experience by including the timestamp or other metadata.
I’ve found that my students really enjoy the opportunity to “tweet” in class in this manner. Since we are not actually broadcasting online, they don’t have a fear that an unknown public is seeing their content or judging their mistakes. The tactile nature of writing the sentence and then sticking it onto a poster is somehow very comforting to them. And because the size of the post-it only realistically allows a single Latin sentence, possibly paired with an English translation, the task does not feel cumbersome to them.
I’ve found that my students love this activity, and they appreciate the fact that their poster hangs in my room alongside those made by students in other grades. I love it because I’ve stumbled across a method to get my students eager to write Latin sentences quickly and often.