Instagram as #authres in Spanish Class

Why use #authres?

Thanks to the #langchat Twitter feed and my experience at CSCTFL in March I have been trying hard to incorporate more #authres (authentic resources) into my classes. One of the big focuses was on changing the task, not the text for your levels.

My last blog post I wrote briefly about technology uses in the classroom and making sure it aids acquisition, not inhibits it. This is an example of where #authres worked really well to help my students interpret Spanish, and the use of technology really transformed our classroom experience.

Instagram Offers Lens into “Real Life”

My Spanish I classes started a chapter in Oaxaca this week, and when I was sitting down to do my planning, I realized I really wanted them to get a feel for what the city looked like, but my preliminary searches lead me to pictures from the 90’s- and they looked like it. I wanted good, real photos of the city, from the perspective of people who are actually there. BOOM. Instagram.

Social media, Youtubers, and bloggers are becoming my favorite. Because they document EVERYTHING. Everything. And because they document and shaInstagram en Oaxaca (1)re everything, it’s easier to find and share it with your classes!

I searched a few hashtags until I started hitting gold, DM’d a few users, and commented on others to make sure it was okay that I snagged their posts for my classroom, and away we went!

Activity Set Up

I screen grabbed captions and posts to create a matching activity. Students had to interpret the caption and decide which post it went with.

Instagram en Oaxaca.png
The “word bank” of captions.

There were a few “gimmes” in there, and a few that really challenged them. Students really had to think critically about what they were describing, and they wound up reading hashtags very carefully. I picked images that highlighted some of the things we had already discussed, as well as some that are coming up soon!

Follow Up Activities

Then, students had to select which image was their favorite and write their own caption to tell me why they liked it.


The final step was my favorite. I listed the usernames of all of the profiles I borrowed pictures from in our previous steps and had students go explore. Students were to find another post they liked and leave a comment on it IN SPANISH (whoa), then screenshot it and add it to their assignment. Some of them really went to town, liking and commenting like crazy, a few became super analytical, and quadruple checked their post before sending it. Some just went through entire feeds, and when the bell rang they looked up in total shock.


No Instagram? No Problem

There were some options built in here, based on their technology availability, parental preferences, and their own opinion, but they were just little tweaks to the same step. Here are the tweaks I provided:

{have the app?} Go to Instagram on your phone, find a pic, comment, screenshot, upload.
{no app, yes phone?} Go to Instagram on a phone’s browser, peruse pics, screenshot, comment via the Google Slide document.
{School blocks Instagram} Students image search for a picture of Oaxaca they like, insert it into the Google Slide document and create their own caption.


The last option could just be your extension anyways if you’re worried about what students will find when exploring Instagram. My mind felt safe because I had selected specific users for them to explore- and I had gone through those entire feeds looking at the kind of content they posted. Whatever you feel comfortable with.

comments3In my opinion, students going and posting on the real profile was the best because they knew it was real.

They were saying things like, “Aren’t these people going to be surprised when they get a lot of comments from random people?”

“Oooh! They were using emojis! I’m going to add an emoji!”

“Hey, do you think they’ll follow me back?”

They were making connections.

                            • • • • •

This could easily be done with any city or country your class focuses on- the prep was very minimal. Honestly, what took the longest is that I became very absorbed in the Instagram feeds of the profiles I was searching through! Whoops.

Instagram en Oaxaca Pin with Pictures of Students on Instagram

In case you like this idea and just happen to be “in Oaxaca” sometime soon for your classes, here is the link to the activity (FREE!). If you do use it, I’d love to hear about how it goes!

3 thoughts on “Instagram as #authres in Spanish Class

Leave a Reply