Sunday, March 29, 2015

Thought About Starting a Class Instagram, Now you can with these Easy Steps {FREEBIE}!

Since early in my career, I always had a class blog that I used to share important reminders, photos, and all of that other good stuff we need to share with parents.  Once I started blogging at Easy Teaching Tools, keeping up with a class blog was harder and harder.  This year, I've made it SO much easier by creating a class Instagram!  Don't worry, I made sure to get parent permission first!
Here's how it works in my second grade class!  Download Instagram to your school iPad.  I set up a private account  and then I sent home the permission slips and got parent approval for all of my kiddos!  Woo hoo!  If you don't get parent approval, no biggie.  Just don't post photos of those friends.  
Some Tips:
Only accept followers of parents in your class
Don't follow any parents, that can get weird!
Don't use your school or city in your username
Don't use any student photos in the profile picture
In your weekly e mails, make sure to include a link to your class account to ensure that parents are following you.  Be patient, it takes some time!

Before we officially began, we went over the safety pledge and talked about internet safety.
Grab this pledge for free, just click on it and print!
For the first two weeks, I modeled how to use Instagram, took photos of great learning, and created captions in complete sentences.  I typically posted 2-3 photos per day, depending on what we were doing.  Plus, I wanted to get parents excited about our Instagram project.

Then, I was ready to gradually release our little project to the kiddos.  Since we have two iPads, I have two kiddos per day who are in charge of our account.  I place a set of instructions on a place card holder, like the kinds you see at weddings.  I grabbed a pack of 12 for 10 bucks at Michaels with a 50% off coupon.  I have those friends choose to take one photo per day, depending on what interests them.  If I need them to take a photo of something else, I just tell them to do so.  The reason I have kiddos in charge is because it gives them a sense of responsibility and builds buy-in.  Plus, they get really excited and can't wait to get home and tell their parents to check the account.  See how sneaky I am, it's a win-win!

 I'm a huge stickler this time of the year for complete sentences, so it's great practice for them.  Once a kiddo takes their photo and writes their caption, they MUST show me the post so I can have final approval.  This ensures that we are using social media safely.  It takes about 2 seconds to check it over, so it's barely any work on your part!

For my friends who are a bit unsure how to start, they can grab the sentence starters for easy reference.  I just laminated them and keep them near our iPad storage.  They're the best because there is no need to ask for my help.  It teaches them to be independent little learners and those are my favorite kind!

I wanted a fun way to integrate our class Instagram with a fun bulletin board display.  So, I made a cute IG banner that matches my class colors perfectly.  Then, I printed pretend Instagram pages out for my kiddos.  I printed them two per page, to save on paper and ink.  My students absolutely loved this activity so much, that the room was silent {which I was not-so-secretly loving}.  They drew a photo of something that they've seen in our class at some point during the year and come up with a great caption.  I even let them use my fancy flair pens if they wrote neatly!  I cut bright card stock in half and my guys glued their Instagram page to the middle.

 We have a window into our grade level pod so I used that as a bulletin board.  I just taped them up with a bright piece of washi tape.
 You can just stick the IG letters up or make a banner out of them.  I grabbed a piece of twin, used my two-hole punch, and got to work.  I'm not super crafty at all, and I was able to finish it in about five minutes.  My kiddos were in awe!  In fact, our custodian told me how much she loved the bright colors of our room and that it's her number one room!  It made my heart pretty happy to hear that!
I can't wait for Open House because it's a pretty display that shows awesome student learning, while mixing in some technology!
If you'd love to start a class Instagram account, make sure to grab this pack!  I can't wait to hear how you use it!


  1. Are you going to start this at the beginning of the school year next year or wait till mid year? I'd like to start this with my first grade class, but I'm not sure if I should start now or just wait till next year... any thoughts?

  2. I started it in September, but there's no reason you can't start now. What a better way to try something new than with the kiddos you already know!

  3. I have been trying to figure out how to make a class IG work with my 2nd graders...needless to say, this post is EXACTLY what I've been looking for! Thank you for sharing!

  4. What do you do at the end of the year? Delete parents for the new class? Delete the account? I'm curious.

    1. Hi Lucia,
      I just delete the account and start a new one for the following year! Hope that helps!