“I teach fifth grade. I want to do some different icebreaker activities this year and was thinking about doing something related to social media. My own daughter is a rising fifth grader and is all about Instagram and Facebook (even though I’m the mean mommy who doesn’t let her have her own accounts yet!) Does anyone have any age-appropriate ideas we could do in my classroom?”
What a fun idea to incorporate social media into your icebreaker activities, Jennifer! The tweens we know are also crazy about Instagram and Facebook. But we hear your concerns about safety and age-appropriateness, too. Here’s what our helpliners had to say:
- Make a “Futurebook” bulletin board display. Challenge students to write and illustrate Facebook profiles showing their future careers, hobbies, pets and families. It’s a great way to talk about goal setting! —Sabrina K.
- Talk about digital footprints by having students trace the bottoms of their shoes on pieces of papers. Then, with pencil and Sharpie, have them draw the lines they see on the bottoms of their shoes. Scan their footprints into the computer and have kids add text around their illustrations describing what it means to be a good digital citizen. —Rachel O.
- Create a “Fifthbook” bulletin board display where students can routinely add “status updates” about what they are learning. Begin by having them fill out predeisgned templates that are similar to a Facebook bio. Then, throughout the year, have students add their mood, feelings and other updates. —Tabitha F.
- Try having students fill out a Facebook profile for a character from a summer reading book. You can do it via pencil and paper or online. Then have kids choose their next book based on their classmates’ recommendations. —Dominick D.
- Have you tried Edmodo? It’s a great social media platform that’s completely safe for students as young as kindergarten. It does a nice job of mimicking the experience of grownup sites like Facebook and Instagram. You can have students fill out their profiles and share them as an icebreaker activity. —Karen L.
- Have each student write down three statements about themselves. One of the statements must be false. Then have the children share their statements with the class, challenging the other students to guess which statement is incorrect. It’s a nice way to get to know one another AND talk about how easy it is to lie on the Internet! —Francis K.
- Try making a giant paper iPad with an app space for every student. It’s up to the student to fill that space and keep it updated throughout the year. —Brandy G.
Do you have any more suggestions for Jennifer? Please share them in the comments.
And if you have a question for our Teacher Helpline, feel free to post it on our Facebook page. Our crew of 75,000 teachers will hopefully be able to help you out!