If there's one thing I know about today's high schoolers in 2020, it's that Snapchat is the social media tool for them.
My boys set up Facebook accounts at one time. They never use them--each features a picture of them when they were 11, if they have a photo at all. Twitter?
And yet for me--reluctant to use social media beyond one or two platforms--Snapchat seemed like a bridge too far. When people asked me if I had a Snapchat account, @mdittes2020, I would usually joke: "I tried to sign up, but I was blocked. The message said, 'Too damn old.'"
But this year, determined to increase the amount of German I speak daily with my students, I seized upon Snapchat as an option. I had created an account last year to do "BookSnaps" with my English students (and only that).
Planning out my lessons this year, I found myself plotting out the whiteboard at the front of my room: I wanted to set it up a certain way and then fill it with German as I discussed terms with each class.
Snaps as Exit Tickets
The Snaps built naturally thereupon. What should students do with a board full of German? Copy a few words down? Move on to the next class? I decided this year to have them "Snap" the board and send me a message using some of the German they had learned, highlight a section of the board that they planned to remember, add stickers or GIFs to one of the terms--whatever their Snap-addicted minds could come up with. The Snaps would function as an "Exit Ticket" that I didn't have to remember to collect, grade, or throw away.
Here's one of the earliest efforts I got yesterday after a lesson on German greetings.
Snapchat as a German Teaching Tool
One web site I discovered over the summer was https://debeste.de, a German photo/meme site similar to TheChive, among others. I love looking at memes, and I love sharing them with others. Initially, I thought I would set up a Google Slides presentation and add memes to go over with the class.
With Snap, I just post a couple of memes each day, translating where necessary, or adding text and images to bring the lesson to life. Here's an example I posted recently.
One group that has really responded to these memes have been German students from previous years who followed me on Snapchat. They comment and are among the most likely to share the memes I post.
It's cool to solve two challenges with one tool, but that's what Snapchat has been for me so far. I'm only a week into this experiment.
Do you teach with Snapchat? Do you have ideas that could help me develop this? I'd love to hear your comments.