• ACTFL goal areas: cultures, comparisons
  • Level: intermediate and above
  • Learning objectives: recognize cultural variations within the same country and across different countries where the target language is spoken; compare everyday cultural practices with students’ own practices


  1. Divide students in small groups (ideally three students per group); each student should have their own device.
  2. Provide two or three cultural themes related to everyday practices with specific hashtags. For example:
    • Workplace practices (#lavoro, #vitadaufficio, #lavoratori)
    • Recreational activities (#domenica, #tempolibero, #aspasso).
  3. Each group picks a theme, searches one hashtag on Instagram, and picks three photos as well as three additional hashtags related to the theme. Students in different groups who choose the same hashtag will most likely find different information, thus helping them understand that culture and practices differ within the same country and across the different countries where the language is spoken. There is not just “one culture!” Students should reflect and discuss how the found practices relate to their own practices and beliefs.
  4. After the group discussions have ended, each group has five minutes to share what they found with the class by explaining what they learned about the chosen theme and how it relates, or does not, to their own practices. 

Options and suggestions

  • The cultural themes can be aligned with the syllabus. The cultural themes can also focus on how people within the same country celebrate festivities in different ways. Encouraging comparisons between cultural practices within the same country as well with students’ own practices and beliefs is central to this activity.