@Instagram in the #Classroom
I first created a teacher Instagram account when I had the idea to have students respond to an image with creative hashtags. As students began to follow me, I realized that I could be using this outlet for so much more than one or two brief activities. These are a few ways that I have used Instagram in the past, both inside and outside the classroom to engage my students and foster deeper relationships.
1. Student Shout-Outs
We all teach students who are involved in something outside of academics, and although it is impossible to make it to every event, I bring my phone with me to the events that I am able to attend and make sure to post a picture of the student I came to see. Oftentimes their classmates will "like" the post and even write encouraging comments. My students appreciate these "shout-outs" and it is an easy way to show students that we care about them.
2. Parent Involvement
I encourage parents to request to follow my teacher Instagram account in order to give them a window into my classroom. Whenever we do presentations, go on a field trip, or play a game during class, I snap a few photos and post them on the account. The picture below is from Poe Day, which we put on every year as an English department. Another teacher, Ms. Poarch, posted this photo of my students on her teacher Instagram, so I just reposted from her account.
3. Bell Work or Journal Prompts
Instagram has a hashtag for each day of the week, but with some alliteration practice, you could also come up with your own. The resource below gives examples of prompts based on popular daily hashtags like #motivationmonday. Putting together a simple slide with the prompt and the hashtag would work, but it could be even more fun to post an image of your prompt on your teacher Instagram account and have students write their response in the comments.
Instagram-Inspired Journal Prompts
4. Image Response
If we are studying a short story or longer work in our textbook, an image will usually accompany the text. As a way of review, I will post one of these images and ask students to come up with a clever hashtag to accompany the photo. The one below is from "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe and painted by Arthur Rackham. Some of my favorite hashtags that my students wrote were #notsofortunatefortunado and #montresorthemonster.
5. Homework Reminders
Students are most likely going to be on their social media accounts at some point during the evening, more so than their school email or their google classroom, so Instagram is a quick way to post an image of a homework reminder for the following school day.
6. Emoji Summaries
If students have read a chapter of a text or an act in a play, a fun way to practice creativity and remember key details is through retelling the events only using emojis. For example, a very brief summary of Romeo and Juliet would look like this: 😡😤⚔️☮️😍😭💔📝💃🏻💑👰🏼⚔️😵😵☠️🏛📝⚔️☠️
7. Inspirational Quotes
It is so easy to find a quote by one of your favorite authors to share with your students. If we are reading To Kill a Mockingbird, for instance, I will find a quote by Harper Lee to post.
8. Keeping in Touch
Many of my past students still follow my teacher account and will interact with different photos that I post. It can be difficult to keep up with students when you don't teach them anymore, so seeing them "like" and comment on photos that remind them of fun activities they did when they were in my class is a cool experience.
Instagram has proven to be useful to me in my classroom as both a chance to be creative with technology and as a way to communicate to my students how much I value them and truly enjoy the time that I get to spend with them as their teacher.