Using Instagram Accounts in the Classroom

Hey! I got an idea that I'm pretty excited about introducing in my classroom next year. It started with my love of Instagram and those super nifty adhesive square pockets from Target Dollar Spot. Below I have some of my favorite Instagram accounts for educational purposes and then options on how to include them in your classroom.

And this list continues to grow. There are so many accounts that offer educational opportunities to bring the world into your classroom. Here are just a few that I've found recently that have sparked ideas on how to enhance my students academics in a range of content areas.

These awesome accounts have countless photos of the world (and beyond).  Nasa's account has awesome photos of space-great for science units. EarthPix is one of my favorites! It has a great mix of natural beauty, tranquil locations, and exotic spaces. Both DiscoveryChannel and Discovery HD have amazing images, including a lot of up close and personal shots!

I clumped all 3 of these national geographic accounts together. The main one, NatGeo is filled with glimpses into different cultures and climates. NatGeoAdventure has great shots of people interacting with the world. Nateocreative  has a mixture of intriguing and amusing photos from around the world.

The last chunk are accounts that revolve around current events and historical events. Any main new source, like ABCNews include impactful images from events going around the world. Time and Life have images of past and present that can give students a glimpse into the world.  I love how the History account often features "This Day in History" posts, while HistoryPhotographed has candid shots from the past. 

My main plan for using these images is for a writing inspiration wall using the adhesive square pockets from Target.

Writing Inspiration Wall

I can't put it all together until I get into my classroom, so I'm just showing the pieces now and will snap a picture when I'm back in my classroom after it's cleaned.

I envision it going something like this: I put 3 different headers on my cupboards (or a bulletin board I don't ever use). Underneath, I place these pictures from the Instagram accounts. When one is overused or not inspiring enough, I can just hop onto Instagram, find a new photo, and insert it into the pocket.  The headers are two parts- a question and then an explanation on what they are supposed to write about.

Once I figured out my questions, it helped me in my quest for photos. I even started creating stories based on the images once I found them! Since there are so many awesome images, it helped to look through them with a particular lens.

This did not take me very long- maybe 15 minutes of scrolling through Instagram on my computer, taking screen shots, and adding them to PowerPoint. Since these images are not my own, I will not be posting this in my shop to respect the work of those who took the photos. However, you can find the headers here and can purchase these awesome icons for an amazing price here.

I added the icons to the corner of the images to help me keep them organized and as a prompt to remind students, as the icon corresponds to the headers. Again, you can snag these icons for a great price over at Hidesy's Clipart. I love her simple icons and most of her shop is only $1 for sets.  Hop onto Instagram and search for images then on your favorite accounts that could promote writing ideas for your students. Add the icons to the corners to help you stay organized!

Other Ideas with using the Wall:

RAFT Writing Matrix

Turn it into a RAFT grid/matrix. RAFTS are great supports for young writers. 

Each letter stands for something:
R- Role- What's your role as the writer? Are you a kid? A parent? A magazine article writer? You give them a list or assign one (great for differentiation).
A- Audience- Who are you writing to? Same deal as the role- lots of options. 
F- Format- Are you writing a friendly letter? An article? A persuasive essay? Great if you want students to practice a certain format or give them the option. 
T- Topic- Here's where the images come into play. Post an image as the topic and have students write away!

Options are endless with RAFTS and can add additional support if your kiddos require a bit more guidance with writing or to reinforce a skills you've taught.

Current Events and Research

Use the ABC News (or another news source) to post a few images (with the description or a hashtag) and have students research using other technology (iPads, laptops...) Then, they can report on it and share it with the class. I'm working on developing this more as I really want to incorporate current events into our classroom this year.

Historical Reference

Pick an image from one of the history accounts and just like the current events idea, have students research based on a description or hashtag and the photo. 

Geography and Culture

Studying a certain part of the world? Kick off your study with a series of images. Have groups of students pick one of the photos and have them learn more about it. You can pick landforms, cultural events, daily living or more!

  • Teach how to cite: give credit where credit is due. Teach your students that whenever using someone else's work to give credit to them by citing. I added the name of the account on each image. Also, a lot of these accounts have people who submit their photos, and they are often credited in the captions. Consider doing this as well and letting your students know what that means. 
  • Think about access- I'd recommend you have the account and pick images, as some may not be suitable for your age group. 
Do you have other accounts you enjoy to follow for educational purposes in the classroom? I'd love to hear them so I can check them out! How might you integrate Instagram into your classroom? Share below!



  1. I absolutely LOVE this! Thank you so much for sharing! :)

    Tiffany @ The Learning Effect

    1. You're very welcome! Hope you can find it useful :)

  2. Oh my word, oh my word!!!! This is FAB!!!!! I must have your question thingys!!!! This is such a neat, fun, and educational idea!!!! So do you just put your pics on powerpoint and then print them? LOVE this friend!!!!!

  3. Love this idea! Can't wait to start collecting photos, thanks so much for sharing.


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