How to use #InstagramELE in the classroom

21 May

It’s been a bit over a year since Adelaida and I started the #InstagramELE Challenge and, incredibly, we have now almost 20,000 pictures tagged with it! We have so many teachers and students participating, and they are creating an incredible database of Spanish language use. And, I think it should be easy to bring it INSIDE the classroom as well. I understand that a 30 day challenge may seem overwhelming, and it can be sometimes, but the beauty of this type of projects is that you don’t even need to complete it to be able to learn with them. So, today, I will present you a suggestion on how it can be used for a quick five minute exercise in class.

Here are the steps.

(A) If your school allows students to use cell phones:

– Ask students to get their phones out and open Instagram. You can have students work in pairs or groups of three just in case a kid does not have a phone or does not have Instagram installed.

– Tell them to go to the search button on Instagram and look for #InstagramELE in the hashtag area.

– Ask them if they can tell you which word corresponds to today or to yesterday.

– Ask them about the photos they see. Can they choose one they like and talk about it?

– See if they are all obvious or not. Many pictures have interesting stories.

– You can project the pictures they select. You can find them on the web by going to and looking there for #InstagramELE. All the public pictures will appear. (Or directly to

– You can also ask them to see how native speakers are using the word for the day, which is usually a popular hashtagged term.

– Have them suggest photos and prompts for the word for today.

– Have a brave soul actually post a picture with today’s tag or maybe use the class account if you have one.

(B) If you prefer that the students do not use their own cell phones in class:

– Show the pictures by going to

– Choose a couple and ask them their opinions.

– Brainstorm together for today’s word. Students can even draw what they are thinking in groups.

But, of course, the most important part is that they use their Spanish and that they read the posts in Spanish. I have to say, everyday I find elements in the posted pictures which can be discussed in class. For example, two days ago the word was “suerte.”  I noticed that many students were using the word incorrectly with the verb SER o ESTAR, for example, here are some sentences taken from #InstagramELE:

– Soy muy suerte cada día.

– Estoy suerte a tener mi amiga y su perro.

It is a common mistake. But the great thing, in my opinion, about #InstagramELE is that there are also many natives participating, most of them teachers, but not all. So, we can show some of their examples and tell students that that is an easy mistake because of the transference from English and model the correct way with TENER, like in the native speakers posts (or even many students who used it correctly).

But also the word “suerte” itself is a great prompt which can be discussed in five minutes: ¿Te consideras afortunado? ¿Tienes suerte en general?

What do you think of these ideas? Any other ones?

By the way, anyone can suggest words for the challenge. Clink on this link for that. We are getting ready the challenge for June and would love to have your words!

¡Muchas gracias por todo!

2 thoughts on “How to use #InstagramELE in the classroom

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