Humor (well, appropriate humor!) in the classroom is always a great idea. That’s why memes are such a fun and engaging tool to promote learning. They’re a fun and easy way to capture students’ attention and can be used for assignments as an alternative outlet for creative expression.
Creating memes is a fairly simple process. Here are a few tools you can use: Livememe, Quickmeme,Meme Generator and AutoMotivator. (A word of caution: These sites have images preloaded that may not be appropriate for your grade level. Be sure to check them out before you let your students loose.)
Also, sometimes memes cross the line from hilarious to snarky and irreverent in a quick beat. If you choose to assign your students meme creation as a class assignment, be sure to make your expectations clear from the get-go. For example, no foul language, no sexual references, no (implied) cultural insensitivity.
Here are seven ways to engage your students with memes in the classroom.
1. To reinforce class rules and policies
Using humor to remind students of classroom rules is more effective and less threatening than constant verbal reminders. And wouldn’t you rather get your point across with a chuckle than an eye roll and a huffy breath?
2. To illustrate grammar rules
Combine grammar rules with funny images to help students remember them better.
3. To build vocabulary
Let your students have a crack at illustrating words on their vocabulary list with memes. It allows for much more creative thinking. Students will have to understand the word fully before they can match it to an image. Also, memes are much less boring than your standard vocabulary worksheet.
4. To respond to literature.
Assign students to small groups and have each group create a meme to summarize a section of the class novel (or a set of chapters from the class novel).
Here’s how one teacher used memes for an assignment when her students were reading Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
5. To introduce concepts and units with humor
Engage your students in a topic before you even begin by creating and displaying an intriguing meme to catch their attention as they walk into the classroom.
6. To respond to historical events
Make history lessons relevant by putting a modern twist on your students’ method of expression. Click on the link above to read more about “the power that memes have to foster storytellers and connect students with experiences and individuals from the past.”
7. To lighten up your math class
Most students would be hard-pressed to find the humor in mathematics, but memes lighten up the topic and put students in a creative frame of mind to find solutions.
For more ideas about using memes in the classroom, check out ISTE’s 5 Ways to Use Memes with Students.
What is your favorite way to use memes in the classroom? Come share in our WeAreTeachers Helpline group on Facebook.
Also, check out How I Use Instagram in High School Language Arts.