Using Social Media to Create a VIP System in Your Classroom

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Every student wants to feel like a very important person, but the opportunities to become a classroom VIP often disappear once students leave the early primary grades. And why is that? It is such a fantastic opportunity for students to feel special and show leadership. So, @SarahGauvin and I have found a way to bring back the VIP system for older students, while also using technology in a transformative way. Here is a video of us explaining a project that uses Instagram and Twitter to empower students to become digital leaders!

The best thing about this system? It can be adapted for a range of grades and subject focuses. Although we have designed it to focus on the BC grade 5 curriculum, there are endless possibilities on how it could be used in your classroom. These are just some of the ideas we chose to focus on, but we would love to hear from you in the comments section how you envision using it in your classroom.

Below you can find all the resources you need to get started with your VIP system harnessing the power of social media:

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  1. Hi Ayesha and Sarah,
    Your lesson is well organized and would be super engaging for the kids. By letting them “take over” the class Twitter for the week, they truly would feel like a VIP. I like how you’ve enabled this to be an ongoing part of your classroom. It allows for teachers to select stronger students earlier in the year who may already be familiar with the technology. As the year progresses, students will become more comfortable in using the technology and some of the struggling students will have several examples from earlier in the year to help guide them.

    I wonder, when do you envision that the kids will do this work? Will it happen outside of the classroom at home, or will there be dedicated time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for your class to connect within the school day? I know my schedule is really full and I never feel like there’s enough time to get through the curriculum, and setting aside three chunks of time each week would be tough.

    One thing I noticed is that all your links are to your original Google docs. There is nothing stopping anyone with the links from changing your originals. I would suggest you replace them with a “forced copy.” In order to do this, change the end of the URL that says “edit” to “copy.”

    • Ayesha Evans

      Hello Diane,

      Thank you so much for your comment. That’s a great question, and in my opinion, it would be worth setting the time aside in class for students to do the work. This is important to me because, 1) not all students have the required technology at home, and 2) not all students have the necessary suppourt at home to be successful. I think because the questions are covering such critical competencies and can be adapted to include different parts of the curriculum, while also teaching students crucial technology skills, you’re really getting big bang for your buck. I could also see it being used as an “early finisher” activity for students, as really, they can reply to the questions at any time throughout the day. These are just my opinions though, and the most important thing I think is that teachers do whatever works for them and their students!

      The files included are “view-only” files of the original, so you couldn’t actually change the documents. Although, I do appreciate your suggestion as a forced copy would make it much easier for another teacher to borrow the idea and make it their own. Thank you so much for taking the time to look at our project and sharing your thoughts with me, and I hope that you can pick out some ideas that resonate with you!

      • missgauvin

        Hi Diane ,

        I just wanted to add to Ayesha’s comments about when we envision doing this. I am not a big fan of sending regular homework, especially for elementary school students. As such, I think I would try to carve out some in-class time to do the VIP activities (with the exception of the actual VIP’s work which I envisioned being done at home). IN regards to student responses however, I was thinking this would be a great soft start activity for the beginning of the day or right after lunch to help students settle and focus. However, if you cannot find the time, it could be sent as homework or you could lessen the number of weekly prompts to shorten the amount of time needed.

  2. Hi Ayesha and Sarah!

    You both have developed an amazing resource for teachers to use and students to participate in. I think your VIP system really get students excited and make them feel special. I’ve seen teachers do student of the week and have them take pictures and share their experiences with a class stuffed animal. Then they get to share with the class on designated days and be the special helper. What you both have done is really neat because you have been able to incorporate social media and technology it a very meaningful way, that I think would highly engage the students! I really like all the pre-planning you did, it is clearly very well organized and easy to follow along with. You’ve provided the students with the context and clearly explained how this project will unfold. When selecting the VIP for the week you mentioned making a rave review for them in Instagram and talking about what makes them unique. To select the VIP were you envisioning it being noticing something unique the student did that week? Or going down a list and then selecting who it would be or drawing names? I suppose it would depend on the class! But I was just wondering what your thoughts were. It would be could to select because then maybe you could select a student you know would be more tech savvy to start it off! I was also thinking that maybe there could be a special day where students could do this with another class or school. This would obviously come later in the year once the students are familiar, but I think that would also be a neat idea!

    Overall, this is such a great activity, that I never would have thought of! You both have planned it out so well and its very thoughtfully done! Its definitely a project I would like to try once I have my own class. 🙂

  3. Alyssa Rundberg

    Hi Ayesha and Sarah,

    You have created a great resource! I can see you really thought it through and included all the necessary pieces. I can tell you were passionate about this project. I love the idea of having a VIP in intermediate because it is so infrequently used after primary. It really allows the students to step up and experience what being a leader is like.

    Reading some of the other comments I notice they have a similar thought as I do about when in the year you would start this project and how to choose what student goes next. I like that students have the chance to share memes and other things. It’s a nice mix of sharing things they are interested in and posing an academic question for their peers.

    You have done a great job of providing any resources needed to take away with this lesson including a permission form, student instructions etc. I like that students will co-create the criteria with you.

    Overall, you have done a great job and made your hardwork very evident. I’m sure you will also be adding extra ideas and tasks in for the VIP over the years as you implement this system!

  4. Hi Ayesha and Sarah! I love your intermediate spin on “Special Helper”! I think this is such a unique and creative way to give autonomy to the students in your classroom. Many students often feel unheard and I think you have done a wonderful job of giving students the feeling of importance and a voice! I love that you have made this an ongoing part of your routine.
    I was wondering how you were going about choosing the VIP each week. As the teacher, are you ensuring all students get to be VIP at least once? Or are students allowed to be VIP as often as they deserve it? This is often tricky to think of because you don’t want to take away the validation of becoming VIP by saying everyone will get it, however, I could see it being quite deflating for students who have not been the class VIP.
    My question is how do you think it would work if it were the previous VIP who gave the suggestions for the next VIP. I think it could be really meaningful if they were the ones who chose and explained why that person deserved the honour. You definitely would have to make sure you discuss how it’s not about picking your best friend, but finding the positive qualities in all classmates.
    Great lesson ladies! You have organized and explained your lesson really well and I think students would really love participating in this ongoing leadership role!

  5. shelby steeves

    I really like how you have created something meaningful for the VIP to do, and it is a great way to get students thinking on a deeper level. With my K class we had someone who reported on the week and would post the classes most memorable part of the week. It was really fun, and gave me great insight on what they loved. I think it would be fun to create a twitter wall in the classroom where students could reflect on the week or post questions to the current events. This would also allow students to still be part of the process if they are not allowed to use twitter.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post with us.

  7. The information shared is of top quality which has to get appreciated at all levels. Well done…

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post with us.

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