By Ellen Sturm Niz
February 25, 2015
kids on laptop

Forget Katy Perry and Justin Bieber—Twitter's newest sensation is a fourth-grade class in Barrington, Illinois. With tweets like "This week was awesome because it was my birthday! I learned how to do 8th grade English and a skill I got better at is internet safety. -Meg" and "We are trying to make two light bulbs light with one D-Cell in #science -Christian," Ms. G's Fourth Graders are so cute and smart and reflect positively on the next generation of humans. These kids sound so excited about learning and their enthusiasm is infectious.

The account started after Ms. G— teacher Michele Giovanelli—and her co-teacher Ted DeBruin took a course about using technology in education and decided to bring Twitter into their classroom at Arnett C. Lines Elementary School. Under the handle @Lines4MG, the students condense what they are learning into 140 characters and take turns serving as the "social media manager," collecting the potential tweets and handing them off to Ms. G who does the actual tweeting from her iPhone. They also tweet questions at people, like asking actor Chris O'Donnell how filmmaking changed his life (he responded!); retweet their favorites from Kid President and others; and have Twitter conversations with other classes about what they're learning. Ms. G is also teaching them about Internet safety and how to behave online as they would in real life.

From reading their Twitter feed, Ms. G. seems like an amazing teacher and I think this is super cool. She obviously monitors the account and blocks any suspicious followers, likely shields the kids from Internet trolls, and is careful not to expose the kids to any dangers. Social media can be a great way to interact with the world and reach people you couldn't otherwise, and it's a reality of the culture in which these kids are growing up. Why not show them how to use it responsibly, show them its power, show them its potential? It's a brave, new Twittersphere and Ms. G's Fourth Graders are poised to rule it.

Ellen Sturm Niz is a New York City-based editor and writer who would like to remind Internet trolls there are real people at the receiving end of your mean comments. If you don't have anything constructive to say, please don't say anything at all. Follow Ellen on Twitter and Pinterest.

Image via Shutterstock