Friday, October 4, 2013

Two Tweets that Changed Everything

In honor of Connected Educator Month...

8 year old Keagan loves The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt.  He kept the book at his desk for days until finally, just recently, he told me about a book he wrote.

"I was inspired by Drew Daywalt," he announced.  "I wrote a book just like the Crayons book.  Wanna see?"

Of course I did.  The book is called "Highlighters," and it was organized in letter-format, just as Crayons is.  The highlighters in his book are hilarious and obnoxious.

Later that night, I realized that I am connected to Drew Daywalt on Twitter.  I reached out and told him about Keagan's book, hoping for a response.

Here is the communication that followed:

And here was his response:

The next day, I shared these two tweets with our class.  

Here were some of their responses:


(And keep in mind, this isn't the first time we've communicated with an author.)

Keagan was highly impacted by this.  He walked around for days holding both his book and Daywalt's book, telling anyone who would listen that he was inspired by an author, and that the author responded to his idea for a book.  

So validating.

My students were previously strong writers.  However, their writing identities and stamina for writing are stronger since using Twitter to connect with authors from around the globe.


Connecting on Twitter helps my students see authors as real people, instead of magical beings who have talents beyond what children can possess.  For example:

  • Drew Daywalt tweets about how he sits at hotels and thinks and writes.  (We sit and think and write!)
  • Mo Willems tweets doodles he makes while sitting at a restaurant for dinner.  (Hey, some of us doodle all the time!)
  • Jon Klassen shares pictures on Instagram of animals and landscapes and parts of his artwork.  (Some of us love taking pictures of and drawing animals!)
  • Linda Urban tweets about having to cut hundreds of words from her draft.  (Hey, we are always making revisions to our writing too!)
These writers feel closer to us because of Twitter.  More accessible.  And if real people can write and revise and publish, then surely, we third graders can too! 

Alas, I am not a perfect connected educator.  I know I don't follow as many people on Twitter as I should.  I don't participate in as many chats as I should. There are always so many more ways for me to be connected.  I'm working on it!  (And yes, I may get a bit starstruck when authors tweet us back, but that's beside the point.)  

In the end, I wonder if it's my students who eventually benefit as much, if not more, than I do.  

So thanks, Twitter.  And thanks, Mr. Daywalt.  


  1. Thank you so much for this!!! I've shared this with my sons' teachers, my friends and family. You and Mr. Daywalt have made an impact on me today. Much love to you.

    Bambi Fuller

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! It's a pleasure to connect with you!

  2. That's awesome that Drew tweeted you back, Ann. Wow! Very, very cool!
    I just reviewed The Day the Crayons Quit on Two Writing Teachers. Then I read his piece on the Nerdy Book Club site today. As a result of your blog post, I'm going to start following him on Twitter. :)

    1. Yes, I agree! He is extremely gracious and quite hilarious. Twitter is so powerful!

  3. Love this post! As I have blogged, I just recently "got" the whole Twitter thing. I've had accounts for years and never used them the way I have in the past couple of months. I can't wait to expand it to my classroom!
    I admit I've been starstruck too!

    1. I was the same way! I had a Twitter account for many years before I finally used it and realized its power. I've enjoyed reading about your experiences with Genius Hour too! :)