The majority of my students have an Instagram account. I don't blame them! I love Instagram just as much as the next guy, I'm constantly sharing pictures of my daily happenings and putting my dog in weird clothing or strange scenarios.
OR! Finding adorable pictures of my boyfriend at his parent's house and posting them for other people's enjoyment.
Earlier this year, I wanted to try and connect with my students through Instagram. During our conversations about digital citizenship, I wanted to show my kids Instagram can be more than selfies and regramming weird pictures they find on the internet. I'm always encouraging them to follow noteworthy accounts (ex: National Geographic, NASA, etc.).
We had to start somewhere, so I started an Instagram account for the 5th grade. I encouraged students to follow the account. When I originally began, we were in our weather unit. I challenged students to post pictures of the clouds and use the hashtag #sotoscience (note to teachers: check your hashtag FIRST, I learned this the hard way).
Slowly but surely, students were taking pictures of the clouds, uploading the images to IG, and using the hashtag! We had a winner! I even had a parent come to me and say, "You made taking pictures of the clouds COOL, way to go!" I was excited to see students using their phones and tablets for science and connecting outside of school. For those students who don't have an IG account, I was able to pull up the images on my SmartBoard for students to look at during the day. We all benefited from it!
Throughout our next unit, I utilized the video feature and posted 15-second videos of activities we were doing in science to spark interest. Plus, I hoped it may start a conversation at home. Perhaps they forgot after the bus ride home, but seeing it on Instagram may jolt a conversation with a family member.
Since we've been back to school, we have completed our Animal Classification unit. Through the IG account, I issued a challenge for students to photograph examples of all five classes of vertebrates. I jump started the challenge with Chip as my model. Watch out David Beckham!
Thanks to my PLN and Twitter, I stumbled upon another fantastic idea for Instagram! Challenge students to create a 15-second book trailer. I posted an example one for Origami Yoda a few weeks ago. I haven't had many students jump on board, yet. Rome wasn't built in a day!
Click here to my book trailer!
Do you use Instagram to connect with your students? How have you used Instagram in the classroom? Share your ideas with me below!