I don’t know about you, but I hate grading reading comprehension questions. First of all, the answers usually could be “borrowed” from websites like LitCharts or Spark Notes so they don’t actually tell you if the students read or not. Secondly, just because a student can tell you what happened in a text doesn’t mean they really understand it. Finally, grading them is…well…boring.


While my senior class was reading one of my favorite books, Beartown by Fredrik Backman, I decided to try something different. My students, like most, are obsessed with social media. Therefore, I blended something they love - social media - with something I love - knowing they truly understood a text - and it made for a really engaging and fun review of a reading assignment.


Students were randomly assigned a character from the novel and were responsible for creating three tweets that character would have posted during that section of the reading that was due. Students were expected to create a Twitter handle (username), choose an appropriate profile picture, write a tweet that alluded to a plot event from the section of reading complete with hashtags. Some took it a step further and created replies from other characters.


If you wanted to do this digitally, you could use a Tweet generator like Tweetgen. If you’d prefer to do this assignment on paper, you can find templates online to print. Using the Tweet generator is nice though because they put their tweets in a shared document that I was then able to project for all the class to easily see.


When they were finished creating their posts, they shared their tweets with the class, explaining why they made the choices they did. I found it interesting how many students were quick to comment things like “That sounds just like Maya” or “Amat would never say that; he is not arrogant.” I had to do very little in terms of correcting any misunderstandings because the students did it for me! Also a plus, I was able to give feedback as they presented, so there wasn’t a stack of boring comprehension questions to grade that night. When the bell rang at the end of class, I knew where I needed to begin the next class period because I knew exactly what they understood. It is a win-win!


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