This year, thanks to the fabulous guidance of Kristen from Easy Teaching Tools, I dove in headfirst with a Class Instagram for my Gifted and Talented Kindergartners, first graders, and second graders, and my students and parents are absolutely LOVING it! I started the year managing it myself, but now that we have a small class set of iPad minis, I’ve passed the torch to my students. They absolutely love capturing their learning and sharing with their families! We share everything from photo collages to slide shows to time lapse videos of STEM challenges on our Class Instagram. It is a low-prep, engaging way to connect with students’ families while teaching and modeling digital citizenship. Here’s how to get started!
First and foremost, head over to Easy Teaching Tools on TpT to buy her Class Instagram pack. It has everything you need to request permission from parents, how to set up your account, and suggestions for management in your classroom. I have to admit, I was hesitant to get started until I saw that all the hard work had already been done and put together in this little package!
You will need to set up a PRIVATE Instagram account, separate from your personal account, with a name for your class. Thanks to Instagram’s new settings, it is easy to switch back and forth between accounts so that you can post as well. Send home the following letter to your students’ parents to request permission for students to be pictured on the account. Since I serve so many students, I also include the following blurb at the bottom of my monthly emails for any parents who might not have access to the account yet. When parents request to follow the account, I approve them, but do not follow any parents back from the account.
Next up, discuss and have your students sign the included Safety Pledge for Digital Citizenship. This is a great teachable moment about the importance of preserving privacy and integrity in your classroom. Then, you are ready to get started! Choose 1-2 students per day to be your “Instagram Photographers.” I have two of my iPads reserved for this purpose with the Instagram app installed, and I have them each marked with star sticker. You may also choose to have one table of students as the Class Photographers for the day. Students must compose a caption and appropriate hashtags before posting, and there are included sentence starters to help them compose a caption. I always approve the captions and photos before students have permission to post. You may also choose to allow them to use photo editing apps such as Flipagram or Instacollage.
In addition to posting to our Class Instagram account, I also print many of the pictures to hang on our hallway display. You can order square 4 x 4 prints from most online photo sites such as Snapfish.
As I change out my pictures, I move the old ones to various places in the classroom. They make the perfect bulletin board borders!
What are you waiting for!?! Engage your students and families with your own Class Instagram!