I have recently created a class Instagram account. Since every student has their own iPad with the Instagram app installed I signed them all into the same account. I have made it a private account and accepted follow requests from only a select number of other early years classrooms that we converse with on Twitter. The idea is to keep it small so that the students can get to know a few classes really well rather than a bunch of classes not so well.
In our class we are using this as a way to share pictures of our favorite things and as a way for us to start writing about these things. We talked about it as a class and decided that each student will take just 1 picture a day and write a sentence or two about what the picture is and/or why it is special to them. So far we think it’s going pretty well. Here are a couple pictures they have shared.
I also used this as a way to talk about online safety as we created the account together and had no followers to begin with. As we get follow requests we talk about how to be safe and how they need to check with an adult before sharing any information with anyone online or in person.
I think this provides a great opportunity for them to practice their writing with and get some dialogue going with fellow kindergarteners. It may not seem like much to you, but when you’re just learning how to write as they are, writing one whole sentence all by yourself is pretty cool! Their friends are able to leave comments on pictures that they’ve taken and vice versa. They are writing about things that are relevant to them and their world, it’s authentic. From the get go these students understand that writing is a very valuable tool for communicating. They are motivated to write!
As the year progresses and their writing improves we may move to a different platform such as Kidblog but for now they really like the social aspect of Instagram. They like looking at each others photos and since the photos are all lumped together it helps to boost the feeling of community in our classroom.
What are you using to encourage shared writing in your classroom?