Tag Archives: Room 244

Making it on the ‘Gram’

My students love it when I take pictures of their work and post it on Instagram. They call it ‘making it on the ‘Gram.’ I have found they get upset if I don’t tag them, even if it is just their hand that made it in the picture. Many teachers are very cautious when it comes to social media, more afraid of what could go wrong than the positive effects it can have. So, I wanted to offer up a couple of suggestions on how to get started Instagram in the classroom.

  1. Pick an Instagram name and class hashtag. I am @DaretoChem and we use #chemisawesome for any of the activities we are doing in class. This allows all your content to be easily searchable for anyone in the community. Give the information out at Back To School Night or in your Welcome Letter home on the first day. Also, on your class website, insert a widget for Instagram that shows your feed. Now, even if a parent/guardian doesn’t have Instagram, they can see the pictures you are posting as they are happening.
  2. At the beginning of the year, I collect Media Release Forms for every student. While we have these on file in the main office, some parents never send in forms or have changed their mind about what they want the school to post. Keep a Post-It in your desk of the students who absolutely don’t want their pictures taken for easy reference. But, no matter what, I do my best not to get faces in the pictures. This is easily accomplished with the over the shoulder shot or focus on what they students are doing and just get their mid-section in the shot.

3. Find the super eager kids in your class and take pictures of their work first.

These students will talk openly about seeing themselves on your Instagram feed and others will work harder to get their work on the feed.

4. Some students will want to pose for the pictures. Don’t be afraid to take their pictures with their work, but double check that it’s ok to post it on the Internet. Even though I collect the release forms, I still ask if they want to post the picture and if they want to be tagged in it.

5. If you are still unsure about having students in the photo, just take pictures of their work with no one in the picture. Your students will still get excited about seeing their work in your feed.

The world needs to see what you are doing so please share. And share often!!!


Welcome to the #RoomOfAwesome

My classroom is a typical HS Chemistry room. Black lab benches, wooden cabinets and drawers, a Periodic Table hanging on the wall. I have some inspirational posters, but otherwise nothing spectacular about the room. As I left the classroom in June I knew that something needed to change for next year. I began to troll Pinterest looking for classroom decorating ideas. I stumbled across a neon and black theme and fell in love.

2015-08-17 13.29.062015-08-17 13.07.472015-08-17 13.07.36

I can’t paint my lab benches so I bought neon Duck Brand duct tape and wrapped the edges of the benches to give that neon pop.

Each bench has its own color. I am also in the process of wrapping all of the desks in the same colors. This is the way I am going to create lab groups. Something along the lines of ‘ok, if you are at a green table, find a partner and go to the green lab bench.’

2015-08-06 08.15.52

This was a boring, gray shelving unit. A little black and neon yellow spray paint from Lowes and, BAM!, a shelf of awesome.

2015-08-20 10.47.05
I absolutely LOVE my new bulletin board! Again, another idea I took from Pinterest. Instead of a boring announcements board with Class Guidelines and other school information, this board sends a positive message about what kinds of behaviors are expected in class. Words such HELPFUL, INQUISITIVE, FUN, WEIRD, and CARING, tells students that I want them to be themselves, but negative attitudes can be left at the door.

These are just a few pictures of some of the changes. All of these ideas came from elementary classroom setups because of so few HS teachers that are posting pictures of their room decor. I made these changes in the hopes that I inspire my students, but in reality, I did it to inspire ME. Teachers spend 8 hours a day for over 180 days so we need to be happy teaching in that environment. We can’t worry about others appreciating our efforts or receiving praise for setting up our rooms. We need to do it because it makes us feel better about ourselves.