This week I'd like to share a shortened version of my TwitLit lesson. You might not know it, but writers have all but taken over Twitter and tweeting short stories has very much become a thing with the advent of TwitLit, or Twitterature. Twitter forces writers to consider every character carefully, which is an important skill we can impart to young writers. The practice of writing very short pieces forces students to examine every word choice and gives them an opportunity to play with language in a low stakes way, which I am all about in first draft writing. Before I go into details in the lesson I should note that I have used this lesson with all ages, so really this works K-Adult (and adults I do encourage you to give this one a try too).
Since this is such a short exercise I always have students write at least 4 short stories using the parameters below.
Students can pair the columns any way they'd like (they can write a 20 word ghost adventure story, a 280 character pirate adventure story, a 1 sentence Easter adventure story, etc). Since we are counting characters (characters in the twitter-speak sense, or individual letters and spaces) I have older students type their work and use the character and word count functions to help them with this. Younger students should replace the word and/or character count with drawing a picture because if Common Core has taught us anything it should be that pictures count as text as much as words do and students need to learn to "read" (and write) all forms of text. As such I have included a handout that I use with K-3 graders below. Have fun with this one, and parents go ahead and give this a try too! You might surprise yourself with what you come up with! And if you want you can catch the Twitterature craze by following hashtags #onelinewed, #flashfiction, #shortstories, or of course, #twitlit.