I am an ELA and Social Studies teacher, and because of the lack of emphasis on teaching Social Studies in my state (it is not a tested subject in Pennsylvania), I try to teach my courses as one, large, humanities style course.
While school is out during the global pandemic, I made an Instagram account that my students can follow where I post daily updates and assignments. Everything from “share one thing you are thankful for today, during this scary time,” to giving words and definitions and having students write their own sentences in the comments using the word, to sharing clips from my calendar of a history of racial injustice in the United States.
Right now, my students are working on a research paper about a person who was persecuted but persevered in history, such as Yuri Kochiyama, Elie Wiesel, Claudette Colvin, etc. I am using Instagram’s interactive actions such as the response box to get students to share their research subject’s stories as they do research and interact with each other and ask each other research questions. Additionally, we are also learning about the history of mass incarceration in the United States and I am using Instagram to share articles about voting rights for incarcerated people, and important statistics and graphics from places like The Sentencing Project.
Every day, I try to post two to three “assignments” that ask students to interact with a post (today they read an article about voting rights for incarcerated people and had to post their opinion citing evidence as to why they had that opinion), as well as six to ten stories sharing interesting tidbits and asking for responses/actions on the stories.