August 31, 2014

Happenings in Hodgensville: Instagram

Happenings in Hodgensville is me sharing a piece of my non-reading self with you. It's usually related to what's happening in my classroom or my sharing my latest StitchFix with you.

Today, I want to talk Instagram in a secondary classroom. I received an email asking me for tips on how to use it in a secondary classroom, and I responded. I decided then to create a blog post about it as well.

Use Instagram in my secondary classroom?! Absolutely.

I love social media for a lot of reasons, but most especially for the way I am able to communicate with my students.

Instagram is something I love using. Pictures tell stories on many levels. I use my account to share a bit of myself, my classroom, my interests, etc. While some have very focused accounts, mine is a bit of a hodgepodge of life. 

If you’re on Instagram and are a secondary teacher, you’ve probably noticed that there seems to be an absence of us. There are some of us sharing what we do in our classrooms, but there could be more.

If you’re on the fence on using Instagram to enhance your own classroom, let me share a few ways I use it for my students.
  1. Create a hashtag for your students to follow. For my kids I use #hodgensap, #hodgens12, #hodgensmyth. The hashtags allow students to not have to follow you, but can see how you celebrate your classroom.
  2. Selfie with your students and other teachers. It allows students to see that you understand the point of selfies, and it models for them how to do it in a constructive way. I will have students who will ask me, “Are you going to put me on your Instagram?!” It excites some. But before I take a selfie with a student, I ask, “Do you mind this going on Instagram?” I will have an occasional student say yes.
  3. Share classroom happenings - last year I took a picture of my midterm review sheet and posted it on Instagram with the class hashtag. I had several students tell me they thought that was cool. And it shows them how we can use Instagram for pictures of more than just ourselves, and our food.
  4. Take humorous pictures of yourself. If I’m feeling overwhelmed with grading, or if I’m having a rough day, I will day a selfie and post it with my class hashtag. This allows them to see that I can have a sense of humor, even on my roughest days.
  5. Take pictures of students working in groups - I try to get them when they are looking down. I have to remind them to “not look” while I’m taking pictures. But it lets them, and their parents, see what they’re doing in class…and how comical some of their faces become when they’re working really hard.
  6. Take pictures of student work that is impressive…and not so impressive. I like to make collages of projects my students complete and post it to Instagram. It gives students a defined sense of self in a new way; I’m not just hanging their work in the hall but sharing it on social media because I am proud of the work they put into their assignments.
  7. Relax. Have fun. Be yourself.
I don’t have all the answers, but I hope the above tips help nudge you to start using it too.

Do you use Instagram for your students? If so, share tips below you would like to add to my list.

Happy Teaching!

          - The Hodgenator

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