By Teachers, For Teachers
You most likely have a Facebook or Twitter account, but do you have an Instagram account? Instagram is said to be the world’s largest teachers’ lounge, mainly because you have access to thousands of teaching ideas, from pictures of creative bulletin boards to photos of how to organize your classroom, you can find anything on Instagram. Instagram is a great way to help you grow your professional network, too. It also can help improve your technology in the classroom teaching skills. Here are a few effective ways that you can use Instagram to enrich your classroom.
Teachers are lifelong learners, and a simple way to extend your learning is through hashtags. Hashtags are an easy way to find relevant information related to education. You can search for posts, people, places, and even tags (general or specific information). When you search a hashtag, pictures that have been tagged with that specific topic will come up under your search bar. For example, a popular hashtag among teachers is #teachersofinstagram. Whether you are looking for classroom lesson plan ideas or just want to see photos of seating arrangements for your classroom, you can find it by simply searching the hashtag. Here are a few more popular hashtags teachers love:
Another effective way teachers can use Instagram is to share their ideas. That amazing lesson plan on mammals that you came up can be shared with the world with just a tap of your finger. Now teachers from across the world can see your amazing ideas and use them too.
Another great benefit of using Instagram is the ability to connect with other educators. Connecting with other teachers is a great way to get new ideas, and it doesn’t hurt to meet a few new people as well. Many teachers of Instagram have connected with complete strangers who also share the same passion for teaching as they do. Others have found lifelong friendships with teachers who teach the same subject or same grade.
To find some educators that you can connect with, all you have to do is search the people or tags section of Instagram. For example, if you teach 6th grade and want to connect to other teachers in that grade, then all you have to do is go under the search option and type in “6th grade teacher.” You should also edit your profile so that others can find you. You can do this by adding what grade level you teach, and any other relevant information about yourself. When you do this, it makes it easier for teachers who share the same interests as you to find you.
One of the most effective ways you can use Instagram is to create a collection of your favorite teacher resources that you find on Instagram. All you have to do is save your favorite photos, and you can create a collection and name it anything that you want. For example, you can have a collection of “teaching tips” photos or “organization” photos, and so on.
Instagram is a great resource for teachers, because it allows you to not only meet and connect with other people just like you, but it can help you find teaching ideas right from the comfort of your own home. You are essentially getting free professional development with the ability to collaborate and share with others.
Teaching the concept of “themes” to students can be tricky. One way to get students engaged is to have them analyze the accounts of famous people, places, or businesses for “themes.” One industry that does a great job of constructing marketing “themes” is retail, such as clothing brands. Have students compare two recognizable brands, such as TJ Maxx and Gucci, and have them discuss the differences in the “story” each brand is telling. While both brands are selling the same thing—clothes—they tell very different stories.
Another great way to utilize Instagram in the classroom is to have students explore poetry and books through the platform. There are many “Instapoetry” accounts that have bite-sized poems students can analyze. They can ever try their own hand at writing “instapoetry” and compare their work with their peers. Instagram is also a great place for “book talk.” You can use Instagram to book talk using images or short videos for a digital twist. Try a fun assignment with your students where they create their own “book talk” post and share with their classmates each time they complete a novel.
Instagram can be a fantastic resource for teachers. From networking to resource sharing to classroom strategies and activities, the possibilities are endless. All you have to do is get creative!
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.