Many of us have been enjoying #BookSnaps, created by Tara M. Martin (@TaraMartinEDU) as something we create as we read professional books, something we just like to view, or something we use in class with students as Tara intended. Talk about engagement. Take one of the most popular social media apps for teenagers and preteens, combine it with your learning objectives, and voilà ! Instant engagement and classwork or homework that doesn’t suck and doesn’t take up much of their time. A win win.
A cousin to #BookSnaps and #PoetrySnaps, #MyPoetrySnaps, however, is the first to take the leap into creating the content AND the “snap”. The hashtag, #MyPoetrySnaps, will be where we host examples of student poems using Snapchat or other programs to create the poems combined with unique visuals of photos mixed with clipart and Bitmojis. The limited text of Snapchat will force students to be very selective in their word choice. Word choice is often challenging to teach, since students aren’t physically forced to stick with the limit you, the teacher, may set. Snapchat, however, absolutely won’t allow you to type another word once the limit is reached. This will help students be purposeful in selecting the words that will be in their poems. The most fun homework or classwork around! #BookSnaps and all it’s cousins are ramping up engagement in classroom across the nation.
#MyPoetrySnaps finds an educational use for the very popular app, Snapchat, but other other apps can be used as well. If you are a Google school, then using Google Drawings or Slides are a great alternative for creating these visual and text poem creations. I recommend that, initially at least, you allow students to be in control of the content (school appropriate of course) and style/type of poems they create. Let the students find the beauty in everyday things, their lives, their worlds. Any tool can be awesome or a flop in our classrooms, so carefully consider how you use them. When we take all of the creativity choices away, and we make students create but fit rigid parameters, we lose something in the translation (former Spanish teacher here).
With #MyPoetrySnaps, we have an opportunity to allow students to find their voice and express their creativity using the app of their choice if at home, or the app of your choice at school. As Denis Sheeran, (@MathDenisNJ) author of Instant Relevance, points out as often as possible, that we can give our classes instant relevance in the eyes of our students when we find ways to bring things into our lessons that they are interested in personally. Students are interested in Snapchat. Students love taking pictures with their phones. Why not combine those two things and add in a poem? Their poems, their musings, their voices.
My plan, since I teach high school students, is to use Snapchat for the times I make their #MyPoetrySnaps a homework assignment, and when creating them in class, we will use Google Drawings, Slides, or Canva. I use these products in class when we create #BookSnaps because they integrate well with the Bitmoji chrome extension. If you are new to #BookSnaps, then I highly recommend you check out Tara’s blog and instructions on how to create them. She has instructions you can read and also instructions on YouTube for those visual learners out there.
What are we waiting for? Okay, we’re waiting for school to start, but let’s get a jump on this and be thinking of creating our own #MyPoetrySnaps. I created a simple one that involves one of life’s simple pleasures, Oreo cookies. Create one of your own and share on our hashtag, #MyPoetrySnaps on Twitter. Then let’s rock this school year with #BookSnaps, #MathSnaps, #ScienceSnaps, #HistorySnaps, #FoodSnaps, #PoetrySnaps, and the newest arrival, #MyPoetrySnaps. How about using one as a back to school opener? What a fun way to demonstrate “what you did this summer” in a more contemporary way. The new school year is right around the corner. Let’s go do amazing things!