| Students under 13 are not supposed to be using Facebook. Although many of them do use it, it would not be appropriate to have a school sanctioned lesson using this tool. However, there are alternatives.
Create a Template for an Internal Server
If you have some skill with computers, you could create a template that utilizes the important features of Facebook and use it with an internal site. Alternatively you could just create the template and use, have students work with it and then print out their results. Ali Eeds from Vacaville created the following template for her AP history class. Although her students are of age, the district had concerns with students accessing Facebook on site.
Creating a Facebook Poster
You can use a facebook template in another fashion. Using large size paper, students can create posters for their people. This is the technique I used in my class of fifth graders. In this case, the classroom activities associated with the project were more important than the actual product. Here’s how I did it.
Step 1: Choose a Theme
My theme was People of the American Revolution. Each student was assigned a different person from the time of the Revolutionary War.
Step 2: Research
Each student gets a handout to help with research. The hand out asks specific questions related to what will go on the poster, such as "what jobs did your person have," or "what was his or her political view."
Step 3: Find Friends
The handout also has instructions about who qualifies for "Friendship." My guidelines included the following:
- Same Political Views
- Same Religion
- Same Job
Finding friends reinforced the ideas of Tories, Rebels, Loyalists, and Patriots, as well as confirming roles of different historical figures.
Step 4: Status Updates
Despite the assumption that kids understand these things intuitively, many of my students had no idea what "Status Update" referred to. I introduced this as an opportunity to be in the mind set of their character. Some students created excellent status updates reflecting both a specific event in time and the historical figure’s feeling about it.
Step 5: Build Posters
You can choose what parts of Facebook to include. In my class, I chose the ideas mentioned above, as well as Relationship status, Favorite Books, and Favorite Movies. The latter two I let students have fun with. They were two think of books and movies from our time that their person would like, based on what they’ve learned. We also talked about historical books. As some of the historical figures were authors, we were able to add in more books from the actual time period.
Step 6: Circle of Friends.
I gave the students a challenge. Could we create a circle where everyone was connected in some way? I gave them five minutes to make a circle of friends based on the same criteria we used to make initial friends. Once we achieved our circle students were given another task.
Students were to interview the person on their left. Everyone would be interviewed and would interview someone else. When we were finished gathering information, students would form the circle again and introduce thier friends.
I gave students a simple fill in the blanks statement to use, such as this:
This is my friend ___________. We are friends because ________________. He/She is known for __________________________________.
In this way, we learned even more about the historical figures.
Step 7: Share with the community by putting the posters up!