Social Media as Creative Writing Curriculum
The Sycamore School’s Journalism & Yearbook Class is a daily elective where students actively contribute to our school’s social media. This class empowers them to contribute to the narrative and culture of TSS while developing their capacity to make ideas visible with words, pictures, and videos.
Social Media as Collaboration
The student social media unit began with the selection of a holiday/ day of celebration. Students went through guided practice with immediate feedback on their post copy and graphic. As their skills developed, students worked collaboratively to research holidays and celebrations, adding them to a planning calendar and claiming which posts they would like to create. When students claim a holiday, they create the graphic, write the copy, and choose a minimum of three hashtags. Upon completion, the post is approved by a teacher and scheduled on the school’s social media platforms.
Students have total control over the posts and celebrations. Some students work on collaborative-only projects that are especially meaningful and touch multiple affinity groups. As the class has developed over the year, teachers and students in other classes have also begun to take pictures and reach out to share successes that deserve celebration.
Social media posts also include celebrations of student work. One student started a Kickstarter to raise money to publish his children’s book. With the support of social media, he was able to earn over $800 towards his goal.
Following a Social Media Brand Guide
We started the social media unit with a conversation about brand and the guidelines that must be adhered to when representing an organization. We did a guided analysis of the existing social media posts to note the style, pattern, and setup of the posts.
Students learned that to create their posts, they must follow the brand guidelines for TSS. These guidelines help students learn about boundaries, curated design choices, and intentionality in planning for social media.
Utilizing a Social Media Calendar
Students contribute to our year-long social media planning calendar. This document requires students to identify their holiday, contribute their copy, learn to embed links, and keep their long-term projects organized. This helps keep our class organized and accountable.
The modeling and structure of a professional social media calendar helps students see the step-by-step planning and executive functioning requirements needed to carry out long-term projects.
Growth from Social Media Learning
As students create their graphics, write copy, and post across TSS’ social media platforms, they have an opportunity to receive critical feedback and learn the next steps.
Since students began planning and posting in August 2022, the school’s social media accounts have shown significant increases in views and interactions.
The social media unit has been very popular with our students! They enjoy the challenge of creating content that is interesting to them while also appropriate for posting on the social media accounts of TSS. A few students share their thoughts on the class below:
“I think it’s a good idea to have social media incorporated into the learning. I see our school’s posts when I am on social media.” Student S
“Social Media is a part of journalism. I feel like they are interconnected. We report using our social media accounts by sharing the current happenings of the school.” Student I
“As someone who uses social media a little outside of school, these projects make sense. Making a TikTok for Chaos Day was a favorite memory.” Student A
As educators, we are excited to have this opportunity to help students develop graphic design and social media copywriting skills that are increasingly useful in today’s world.