Welcome to the Emoji Classroom

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Stick Around Emoji Puzzle

This week, I’m kicking off the Emoji classroom. Yes, those digital stickers that range from smiley faces to simple objects. The concept of Emojis is not really that new, in fact, while emojis have been very popular in the last few years. The origins of Emojis dates back to the first one created by Shigetaka Kurita around 1998-99. They were originally known as: “emoticons” as an electronic communication between people using instant messages. It wasn’t really a new concept, societies and civilizations have used icons to represent emotions and stories for centuries.

As the digital age grew and developed from the late 90s to the mid 2000s, Emojis became more prompt. Similar to using an abbreviation like: lol: “Laugh out Loud”. It was easy to show what a person was thinking by putting a:  😄 instead of a: :). As they say: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Now, let’s flash forward today and Jon Smith founded #emojigrading and before that Julie Jacobs started a workshop using Emojis for daily vocabulary with her students, which was a brilliant idea. Let’s face it, our students can spell a word like: “sly” an even know what the word means but don’t see examples of it. However if you add an Emoji such as: 🐺 (fox) or: 😼🚶and students start understanding the concept a bit more. I just put together a Stick Around Puzzle as an vocabulary exercise utilizing this. In this case I put the words first and students have to match the Emojis with the word.

Emoji Infopic showing "Star Gazing" as the vocabulary word.
Emoji Infopic showing “Star Gazing” as the vocabulary word.

You can reverse it and have the Emojis first and then have students match the word to the correct Emojis. This really helps with students associating their words with image examples instead of just hearing the definition or learning how to just spell it. Another awesome way to start using Emojis with vocabulary exercise is to create an Emoji Infopic showing an example and having students figure out what the word is and then explaining it afterwards. However, a great way to use Emojis in the classroom is using them for grading. Yes, grading. I grew up during the 80s and 90s and when I was in grade school and PK our grades were shown to be stickers and not the classic A-F grading scale until I had entered 4th grade. This actually continued for a long time until my siblings who are 12-14 years younger than me started third grade. Before there were A, B and Cs there were: E (excellent), G(good), S (satisfactory), and U (unsatisfactory). Originally there were stickers representing this and then when the quarter came in the end we would get the letter grades. However, we knew from having the 😃👑 we knew that we would be in good shape come report card time. We knew there was a better chance of seeing the S or the U if we weren’t seeing the stickers. We were more prepared for the final showing of the letters when it came that

Emoji Grading Scale example
Emoji Grading Scale example

time. Making #emojigrading is pretty simple, here are two examples of showing how you can make them and a video I did on Periscope showing how to create the grading scale and making the vocabulary exercises.

As you can see there are many ways you can start using Emojis for grading and vocabulary. I will be showing more in the next few days, including an upcoming vidcast at the end of the summer titled: “Getting Emojinal.” Be sure to look on twitter under the hashtags: #emojigrading #emotionvocab #emojiinfopic #emojiclassroom. See everyone later.


2 thoughts on “Welcome to the Emoji Classroom

    1. I will blog about how emojis can replace traditional grades and increase academic achievement. Emojis are globally accepted forms of communication and are a humane approach to assessing k-12 and adult students.

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