I recently gave a math student who had completed all of his work and had a bit of extra time on his hands an extension assignment using emojis. I asked him to create a math problem and gave him the example below which was inspired by the #mathmoji hashtag on twitter:
I showed him how I included one hint (that two of the same emoji’s equaled 8) that helped me to “crack the code” of the rest of the emojis. He immediately erased my example (while laughing, I might add) and got to work to create one for me.
I had others duties to attend to that day, but when I checked in with him later on that day, he had not only completed my assignment but had created 5 challenging problems for me to solve! (I WAS able to solve them all, by the way… although I did borrow a calculator at one point… he used multiplication!)
He told me how much fun he had and that he would be challenging his parents later that night. WOW! Adding emojis and providing an opportunity for the STUDENT to create got so much engagement and buy-in that the student-created MORE than I asked for and was EXCITED to share and create more ON HIS OWN!
Incorporating emojis while allowing students to create something isn’t limited to this single math assignment. There are soooo many possibilities! My first thoughts for emoji prompts that enhance learning include:
- Explain the water cycle using at least 5 emojis
- Create a math problem using 2 or more emojis
- Tell a story using at least 10 emojis (you might read a rebus story to your students first so they get the idea)
- Summarize a story (or setting, or describe a character) in 5 emojis, then write a paragraph to explain your choices
- Explain the concept (you put in your content) using only emojis, then write a paragraph explaining your choices and how they represent and explain the concept
- Have students create an “All About Me” using only emojis and then present to each other in small groups to get to know one another at the beginning of the school year
While there are chrome extensions and websites where students can easily search for and find emojis, as you know, not all emojis are school appropriate. Also, sometimes having too many choices can be overwhelming to sift through. I’ve created a simple template you can use that includes a place for instructions (you decide on the prompt and edit), a place for students to create their work, and (best of all) an Emoji Bank with safe-for-school emojis that students can simply copy and paste into their work without having to navigate away to another website or be exposed to some of the more unsavory emoji choices. Click through the pages of this preview to see if you’re interested in using it with your students. Have an idea for how you might use this in your classroom? Click on the blue ADD TEMPLATE button in the top right corner to add an editable version to your google drive!
Let me know how you drop an emoji on one of your assignments!