Sunday, August 11, 2013

Instagram: Ideas for Use

I think having a class Instagram is a neat idea. It's a great way to document what's happening in your class, share with families, and show students' smiles and success. You can assign a student to be the class photographer if you don't have time to incorporate Instagram yourself.

Here are some other ideas about how to use Instagram in your classroom:
  • Send a link to your class Instagram in your welcome-back-to-school welcome letter {or insert a QR code}. Before school starts, allow students to log in and see a photo-tour of your classroom and/or the school. It could help students get excited about coming back to school. 
  • Students who have an Instagram account of their own {or could use Mom's for a while} could take pictures of real-life examples of things you're studying in class and tag you in them. Teaching alliteration? Ask students to find an example of alliteration in the real world and tag you in their Instagram picture of it. Teaching the /oi/ sound? Ask students to find pictures of objects whose name contains the /oi/ sound.
  • Document steps in an investigation or experiment. Use the pictures to help write in the science notebook. {You could even print the pictures and/or print the QR code link to them and let students glue that into their notebook entry.}
  • If you have a class set of iOS devices {or cameras}, ask students to complete a photo scavenger hunt around the school and tag the class Instagram account in their uploaded pictures. The first team to upload all the answers wins.
  • Put Instagram pictures of the class in your class store {if you use a classroom economy management system, I bet these would "sell" quickly}. 
  • Host a small fundraiser with prints from your class Instagram. Create a brochure of the different printing options and send it home to parents. By increasing the price just a little bit, you could provide tangible and physical memories for parents to keep and make a little money for your class or school. You could contact each company individually to see if you could purchase items in a bulk price. 
  • Print pics to create a photo book for "writing inspiration"? Students could keep the book in their desk and refer to it if they run out of ideas during a writer's workshop. 
  • Assign a photo essay: students have to capture pictures to depict a story. 
  • If every student had an Instagram account of his/her own, they could use it as a photo portfolio for work throughout the year.
  • Print pictures to use as goodbye gifts for your students at the end of the year. I particularly love the idea of creating a book or collage with memories from the school year for each student.
  • Instagram pictures make great additions to class bulletin boards and/or classroom decorations. 
  • If you teach an older grade, you could use your class Instagram to post pictures of homework help/tips or content-related jokes. If you need to upload text, just go into your Notebook app and write whatever needs to be said. Take a screenshot of your words and upload the screenshot to Instagram. {You could also use the free app, Notestagram, for more customization options.}
  • Because Instagram saves all of your photos infinitely, you can use it to take pictures of great examples of lessons that you repeat on a yearly basis. Next year you teach that same lesson, pull up the example picture on your class Instagram instead of having to dig a hard copy out from the depths of your files. {This could be a great supplement to your teaching portfolio and/or substitute lesson plans!}
  • Use your Instagram pictures to help you make a slideshow at the end of the year. Play it on repeat during your end-of-the-year party.
Here are some cool ideas on ways to print your Instagram pictures (if you're willing to pay a little):
  1. Sticky Gram lets you turn your Instagram pics into magnets -- it's $15 for a pack of 9 with free shipping. 
  2. Printstagram lets you create a variety of things with your photos. The first option is a photo college (great for displaying all the students in your class or all of their work on one piece of paper) --  it's 20" x 40" and $25. Mini-prints are cards with your photos on them -- get a set of 48 for $12. Stickers -- get a pack of 252 stickers for $10. Make two mini-books (with 50 photos each) for $12. Or make 3 tiny-books (with 24 photos each) for $10.
  3. Postagram lets you order mail-able postcards with your Instagram photos on them. Mail a postcard for as little as $1.
  4. PostalPix is a free app that lets you order regular prints of your Instagram images.
  5. Instagoodies lets you order 90 1" stickers for $14.
  6. ArtFlakes lets you print stickers of different sizes with your Instagram images. Get anywhere from 10 stickers (for $20) to 50 stickers (for $62). These stickers are about 4"x4" and are removable from any surface!
  7. ImageSnap lets you create put your images on actual ceramic tiles that can go on walls! This company offers tiles in a range of sizes and prices.
Ways to use the above-printing-services in your classroom:
  • Anything could be a reward for a student! I'm sure they would love getting any gift that had a picture of them or work they had done on it!
  • Anything could be a gift for parents, as well. Again, you could use pictures of the student's face or that student's work -- either would be a cool gift for a parent. I'm specifically thinking of "thank you" gifts for those parents who volunteer to help in your room or on field trips, or "welcome" gifts for all parents on Open House or Parent/Teacher Conference nights. You don't have to give anything expensive, but I think giving parents a little somethin'-somethin' emphasizes how appreciative you are that they came and might encourage them to come again in the future!
  • If The Powers That Be will let you, you could apply a coat of magnetic paint to one wall of your classroom. On the first day of school, you could take pictures of students' faces (or decorated drawings of their own name) and turn those into magnets. Then you could display student work with the magnets, holding up each document with the appropriate, personalized magnet. 
  • One management method for student bathroom/water fountain breaks I saw once involved a T chart on the white board. It looked something like this:

There were also magnets with places the students could go -- girl's bathroom, boy's bathroom, water fountain, nurse, and counselor. If a student needed to leave the room, he got up, slid his name to the "out" column, moved the location magnet of where he was going right next to it, and calmly left the room. I thought the system worked beautifully. Using student-magnets with pictures on them would be great for very young students who can't read, or it would just be a fun and personal addition to make students smile.

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