Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Social Media in the Classroom

social media is big these days.  I would be shocked if you taught a class that was grade 4 (or higher) that didn't know about one form of social media (even if they aren't on it their older siblings may be or their parents).

first up, Facebook.

Everyone and their mom has Facebook these days (except I don't have it... nor does my mom).  If you Google for a Facebook template you'll get a lot of good options.  I found this site which has 7.  My favourite?  #6.  It has a lot of information that you can include (perfect for older grades) and I would take out  the last page for sure for anything below grade 6 I think.

How I would use a Facebook profile in the classroom?  I think I would introduce the idea near the beginning of the year with them having to make one for themselves.  We are all experts on ourselves so knowing what information to put in the spaces wouldn't be the issue... we would spend the bulk of our time getting to know the template and what all has to be changed (before doing this I think I would make one for myself as a way to introduce myself to my students)

Now that we all know how the template works I would use it in one of two ways or both ways if they are really loving the Facebook.

1.  Make a profile for the main character in a book we (or just them) are reading.  Last year we did The Westing Game as one of our read alouds which has A LOT of characters in it.  I gave each student a different character and their job while I read the book was to gather information about their character.  Because it was a murder mystery we made wanted posters for our characters near the end of the book... but it could have been these Facebook profiles.

2.  In Social Studies you learn about all kinds of people from the past.  Students could take the time to make a Facebook profile for anyone that we are studying here.  Past prime ministers, an explorer, a famous Canadian... the options would really be endless and it might almost be hard to not make these over and over again!

here's a bonus third way if you are an art teacher... you could make the bulletin board yourself or get your students to help.

Next, we have Twitter.

Much like Facebook I'm not on Twitter either but I know enough about it that I could use it in my classroom.

A long, long time ago I saw this filing cabinet in one of the classrooms I was visiting.  Students used it as a space to regularly say what they were up to or had been up to.

Here we have an example of a bulletin board where students can write about what they are doing

But, as a way to link this back to the curriculum you could also use it in in Social Studies (or again with a book students are reading) where students write out tweets for what their character is doing in the book they are reading or what they are learning about in Social Studies.

If I were using this idea in my classroom I think I would just stick with the filing cabinet idea.  No need to make everything big, elaborate, and amazing.  Students will love to write on the filing cabinet and inform their classmates of what they are doing.  Plus it gets them writing... even if it is just 144 characters at a time (no, I wouldn't hold them to this number... but no writing novels on the filing cabinet either!).

Next up, Instagram (are you shocked that I also do not have this?)

Just like above I think if I were to use an Instagram themed bulletin board or space in my classroom I would be keeping it simple.  Print off some photos that we had been taking them, crop and cut them so that they are a square and post them for students to look at.  Voila!  Instead of using it for just one classroom you could also use it for the whole school as one of the main bulletin boards in the hallway

Finally, Pinterest (which, you guessed it, I'm also not on).

This one I struggled with for a bit but in the end I thought you could use it as a way for students to write (and draw) about their favourite thing they learned about in the last week, or month... or however often you want to do it.  You could post them on your Pinterest bulletin board because it is what students were (hopefully some still are) interested in.

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