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Instagrammatical Inspiration

by Denise Krebs | 25 May 2021
Resource Description:

Millions love Instagram, so let’s use it for learning. Instagrammatical Inspiration is when students post photos of their vocabulary words with a caption or audio narration about the words they are learning. My grade 5 English learner students in Bahrain have had lots of fun practicing vocabulary words by posting pictures on this popular social media platform.

Audience: Elementary, Secondary
Audience Language Proficiency: Advanced, Beginner, Intermediate
Duration: Ongoing
Materials and Technology:
  • class Instagram account
  • vocabulary words your students are learning
  • Students will develop connections in their learning community.
  • Students will learn new vocabulary words.   
  • Students will produce online content accurately and responsibly.
  • Students will enjoy an authentic audience of peers, parents, friends, far away family members, and a global community. This activity adds to the nurturing of a learning community. 

  •  Instead of rote memorization of new vocabulary, they will enjoy elaborative rehearsal. They will use words authentically, noticing potential photos in real life, and use their new and growing English vocabulary outside of the classroom--talking to parents and siblings as they discover how to take and describe photos of their words. Sometimes students even invite interaction and confirmation about their usage. For instance, “Does this adventure look like an escapade?” 

  •  Students will practice proper usage and spelling of words online, usually with a higher level of commitment to accuracy than when they write just for one teacher. 

  •  All the while, students add to their responsible digital footprint.


Activity Description:
  1. Experiment with easy-to-write, but unused hashtags. Find one unique for your learners. Ours is #arsvocab.

  2. Follow student accounts, especially those who have private accounts. That way when you search for the hashtag, all the properly tagged posts will be visible from your account. 

  3. Make space for all. In my class, students can post in any of four ways--on their own account, their parents' account, or on my class account by sending photos in email to me to post for them. Or even finding a photo they want to take at school, which I then post for them while they dictate the caption. In this way, every level and social media experience can successfully participate in this vocabulary practice on Instagram.

  4. View and celebrate posts. We look at the photos the students have posted together, and they receive a simple directive--"Tell us about it." They love to talk about their photos, and it has become an engaging and effective speaking activity too. We have a sticker board that they can add stickers to when they have posted a vocabulary word. 

Uploaded Files:
TESOL Interest Section: Bilingual Education, Elementary Education, Secondary Schools