20 Out of the Box Ideas to Use Instagram in Your Classroom

Instagram

It is no secret that the up and coming generation is hooked into social media.

Teachers who want to reach their students must continue to evolve their curriculum for the world now- not as it was five or ten or fifteen years ago. Despite the negative connotations that Facebook and other such platforms have (specifically in regards to distracting students), there are all kinds of positive ways that social media can play a role in learning enrichment.

Instagram may not be as well known as Facebook or Twitter, but this photo-sharing social media platform could be a great tool in your classroom.

1. Reading

Child reading

Students can make a photo collage of all the books they’ve read throughout the year. Every time they finish a book, they take a picture of it, post it to Instagram, and at the end of the year, there is a shared record of your class’ book list. Sharing these photos can spark others to read books they may not know about.

2. Math

Turn a dry subject with numbers and formulas, and connect it to art through visual expression. Younger students can capture mathematical concepts through visual problem solving re-enactments (like word problems) or even snapping photos of complex formulas designed on poster board.

3. Geography

Have each of your students take a photo of themselves in different parts of their town and city. Use the photomap feature during a geography lesson.

4. Nature

If you are doing a unit on ocean life, take a field trip to the ocean and have students take photos of all the things they find. Then you can share them on Instagram and create a Facebook page with all your findings.

5. Classroom Instagram Account

Every month, take a few photos of the student’s progress. Families can follow the classroom account and keep up with what their child is learning and doing.

6. Pen Pals

Connect your classroom account with other classrooms across the country. Students can share photos of each other (as part of a pen pal program). This builds connections with different cultures and races.

7. Physical Education

Riding a bike

Host a field day for your class. Partake in various sporting events and have a few photographers standing by to document the occasion. Add statistics captions to your photos.

8. Media

As a journalism assignment have your students interview a business or community organization. With the write up (which can be posted to a classroom blog or other website), have them take a bunch of photos with Instagram to go along with the piece.

9. Community Awareness

Woman in community event

Get your class out into the community. Do a fundraiser for a local shelter, and photo-document the process from design, strategy, implementation, and achievement.

10. Tag Photos

If you are doing a unit on physics, take a few photos of your experiments, tag them with a famous physicist on Twitter, and send the photos with his or her Twitter handle. You may just get someone famous involved in your project!

11. Teacher Photos

Parents and community members love to know about the teachers who work in the schools. Have the kids interview all the teachers in a school, writing up a bio of each instructor and tagging a photo of them on Instagram. The filters make even the poorest photos look professional!

12. “How It’s Made”

Creating a project in art? Document the process and post it on Instagram. Tag it with strategic keywords so people who are interested can check it out. If your classroom has a website, add the link in the comment section.

13. Marketing

This could be used for a math or marketing lesson. Have students run a virtual “store” and use Instagram as a marketing tool for showcasing products and generating buzz. Teach advertising principles and how they work with social media.

14. Student Instagram Account

Have each student open an account at the beginning of the year, specifically to document his or her individual progress. Take pictures of group work, projects, new haircuts, workspace, awards, and presentations. At the end of the year, the student will be able to see all the changes.

15. Science

Butterfly

Photo document the changes seasons with Instagram, or use it to follow the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly.  Many scientific units require observation as a key component, and photos are a great way to capture the process.

16. Feedback

Instagram is a social media site, so students will enjoy the process of feedback from followers. Have them post a photo of a seemingly unsolvable problem and then use follower feedback to create a solution through brainstorming.

17. Art

Offer a fun and creative scavenger hunt. Send students out to take photos of different shapes (like finding isosceles triangles in architecture). Then post a collage and invite followers to identify the common denominator in every building.

18. Behind the scenes

Production studio

When working on a chorus concert, band performance, or theater show, use Instagram to generate buzz and give loyal fans a “behind the scenes” peek at the student’s preparation.

19. School Instagram

An entire school could have one account. Each month a classroom could feature their best projects. If the school is equipped with a website, photos from the account can be shared each month to the public. The community can give feedback to the student’s who are showcasing their work.

20. Food

Photograph recipes that you design, write, and experiment with in the classroom. You can also do a nutrition unit at the same time. After all the photos are uploaded, create a class cookbook.

Image by Anthony QuintanoAno Lobbigorputinatoolmantim and @yakobusan Jakob Montrasio

About

Julie DeNeen has her bachelor's degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of New Haven. She spent several years working for a local Connecticut school at the district level, implementing new technologies to help students and teachers in the classroom. She also taught workshops to teachers about the importance of digital student management software, designed to keep students, parents, and teachers connected to the learning process.

You can find out more about her @jdeneen4 and Google+.

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