Social Media & Genius Hour

Each Friday our 5th-Graders participate in Genius Hour. This year, there is a large group of students that either create slime – in order to sell – or draw. They hop on either Google Images or YouTube to hone their skills. I have encouraged them to create a website to showcase their work. Silly me, no one wants to do that. BUT, showcasing their work on their Instagram accounts, that’s another story.

Yes, I am aware that Instagram is for 13-year-olds and older. Each time a student tells me they have an account I remind them of this and ask if their parents are aware of their account and do they have the password. If their parents are okay with it the best I can do is teach them how to be responsible: no locations, birthdates, first or last names, etc.

IMG_0013When we were cleaning up on Friday, I watched one student pull out his phone, snap a pic, tag people, and post to one of his Instagram accounts. I thought this was a brilliant way to document and share his work! Now I need to work with the district’s IT department to unblock Instagram so my class can have an account and document our work.

Point of View

In Social Studies, my 5th graders have been learning about the causes of the American Revolution. Recently, they were researching ‘The Boston Massacre’. Being that we are in the US, the texts that we have, have a colonist/American point of view. This lead to; what was the British take on it? This lead us to a Google Search. However, we didn’t want to view anything that was written in the US, we wanted information from the UK. So how did we find out the UK point of view?

We navigated to a new tab, which brought up Google. While being logged in, we typed our query ‘Boston Massacre’. Now to filter our results for information from the UK. Located on the upper right side is a ‘gear’. Choosing it brings up a drop down menu. From this, click on ‘Advanced search’.

search 1

This sends us to a new page with several search filters. For our Boston Massacre example, we located ‘region’. This allowed us to narrow the region in which the information was published. We chose United Kingdom (this lead to a side conversation about ‘What is the United Kingdom?’). Then clicked the blue Advanced Search button on the lower right side.

search 2

This brought up the search results with the filter in place. All results were from the UK.

search 3

This, of course, led to an interesting discussion on why the accounts that we had been reading about and the accounts according to the UK were different.It was a great opportunity for my students to experience different points of view, why they exist, practice critical thinking skills, and begin to learn to question what really happened.