Dice UP the Classroom Episode 8: Getting Emotional

In this episode of Dice UP the Classroom, I talk about how you can use emojis in the classroom from grading to reports. The transcript is below

The old saying goes: “A picture is worth a thousand words” and it’s amazing how something like a simple smiley face or the picture like this can say so much. In fact, emojis can not only relay a message but they can also be used to teach all sorts of lessons from reading to science. In this episode of Dice UP the Classroom, I will be showing you some of the many ways you can use an emoji with your students from grading to coding in the classroom. So, get ready to get Emojinal. (Intro) Episode 8 for August 2015, hi everyone, I’m Ryan Read and welcome to Dice UP the Classroom. Where we talk about some of the many ways you can roll out learning using technology. A couple months ago I was shown Emoji Grading by Jon Smith where he had created the concept of using Emojis instead of the typical letter grading or point systems with students. As we all know, letter grades can sometimes be scary to  a student when they see a letter grade and it doesn’t matter if it’s an A or an F. Sometimes when a student scores an A on an assignment, they worry they will never make that high of a mark again or feel the world has come to an end when they see something like a C or below. However, if you turn those around into something like an 😎 a 👍 or even an 💩  they not only find the emoji as a better  form of grading but also become more accepting of the grade but also want to continue to achieve or improve on their work. Using Emojis instead of the classic letter or point grading system isn’t really new, it’s actually a digital sticker for students similar to when they receive a: “Good Job” sticker or a stamp that says: “Way to go!” Something that a thumbs up shows better than a B+ or related grade. I know my teachers back when I was in elementary used stickers instead of letter grades or points until I entered 4th grade when the elementary honor roll system began. Then at report card time we were not surprised to see the letter grade we received for our subjects. You can do it the same way and finding your emoji keyboard is really simple. If you are on an IOS or Android device just go to your keyboard and click on the globe icon and from there you will be open to your emojis. If you are a Mac hit the control, command and spacebar at the same time to bring up your emojis and simply click and add. If you are on a windows or chromebook, simply head over to your settings tab, click on keyboards and add the emoji keyboard just like you were add another language keyboard to it. Of course, if you use a chromebook or chrome browser, simply head over to the chrome store and put the emoji add-on to your menu. Just click on the emoji that appears on your browser tab and add the emojis one at a time or select several and copy and paste. Your emojis are going to look different depending on your platform and if you want to create your emoji grading system with your students. Select a few that you like the most and use a polling system like Poll Anywhere or Poll Daddy and have your students pick out the ones they like the most and build your grading system with emojis from there. There is no right or wrong way to do it, it’s using what works best for you and your students, especially when they are involved in the grading system.

 Speaking of different emojis, many have seen me use my favorite Star Trek emoji on my iPhone or iPad and wonder how I do that. It’s pretty simple, just find your emoji favorite emoji, copy it and then add it to your keyboard as a short cut. Simply tap, paste and then name the shortcut and it will appear when you are typing a message. You can’t do this with every emoji you find as some have expiration dates but if you find one you can reuse, you can also use limited emojis for lessons. Take the Vulcan salute for instance, students can do a entire history report on it, many don’t know it was a yiddish greeting centuries ago. Students can do a research on a limited emoji, what it’s based on and how it ended up being used and why it’s an emoji now. Speaking of reports with emojis, something I love doing with my students is having them use emojis to give reports on the space program and while there are only a handful of emojis that are actually space based that doesn’t stop students from creating their own emojis for their reports. Apps such as Skitch, Pic Collage, Over and Explain Everything can take existing emojis and layer them on top of each other and group them together to create something amazing. Take the recent Pluto Fly by from New Horizons. As much as I wish there was a New Horizons or Pluto Emoji that doesn’t stop me from making my own for a space report. I’ll use Explain Everything as an example. I create a new screencast and then take different emojis and layer them over each other to create my NASA space probe and everyone’s favorite dwarf planet with a big heart. Use the magnify and drawing tools to fill in any gaps in the creation and then using Explain Everything’s rotation and movement tools recreate the Pluto Fly with your emojis and speaking of laying, using Apps like Skitch or Over you can make your own emoji infopics. How many times you have it where students can spell a word but don’t know what it really means. Use a picture with a few emojis and students can understand their words even more. What I like to call an emoji infopic. Images that that use emojis to express a story, word or situation you can use emojis as part of vocabulary centers with Apps such as: Stick Around, Wordwall or Quizlet to use Emojis with your weekly vocabulary words. Use a set of emojis that best represent a word and have students match them with the correct word or vice versa. Speaking of vocabulary words you can teach students types of government and situations by group various emojis together along the word and Dice things up a bit by making it an animated presentation along with sound effects and movements. Its a great way to teach students lessons in a different way using emojis and they don’t have to be just for vocabulary. You can also take pictures of something like an empty table or place in the classroom and overlay emojis that complete the picture. Take this snapshot I did of my state of Illinois. Usually when you see a map like this, its usually on a weather report on the local news. Take the map and overlay emojis that show the weather for the areas. You can even use Geotags and overlay them with emojis about the wildlife or sights in the area. Its a fun way to teach students about geography and research using emojis and that’s only the beginning.

 You can also teach young readers using emojis. For years first reader books have used pictures such as 💛🐰 for new readers  without having them sound out more complex words until they were ready. An example would be creating a short reading exercises such as: “See Tyler run, see the 🐎 run, Tyler.” The emoji of the horse helps the students read the sentence continuously without them pausing or trying to sound out the word: “horse” because they might not only know how to read the word: “horse” but they know what a horse looks like. You can create these lists in any program or if you are a one to one classroom you can use Apps like Seesaw to create daily reading lists or make them in a Google Doc and then send it to students’ devices with sound using Chirp or Tone. These are two the best apps to use in one to one classrooms for early or delayed readers since you can insert emojis with just a tap of the screen or keyboard without needing to do any other short cuts. Its a great way for students to develop and enhance their reading skills and you don’t have to stop there. Want to create student assessment or exit tickets with emojis, try using Plickers or Kahoot. You can create questions using emojis like the phases of the moon or the various flags of the world in your classroom and have students answer the questions accordingly. What’s great about using Plickers or Kahoot is they work on any platform and for any classroom from one to one to the one device classroom. Give a try with your students today. If you students blog or love to share their links on social networks you can set up your links with Linkmoji. This awesome link shorter turns your links into clickable emojis that you can copy and paste from everything from a Google Slide to Remind. Its a simple but fun way to use emojis in the classroom with your students or with your fellow teachers. Moving from links and infopics, you can also use Emojis for coding. While many programs like Swift, Stencyl and HTML uses emojis from command codes to image inserts they can be used with such devices like drones, Sphero, Dot and Dash and more. One I’m using with my students this year is creating a Lego Maze with Sphero. Students will pick their favorite emojis and then build a maze to look just like a 👢 or a 👐 and then guide their little  bot  through the maze using Apps like Tickle or Sphero’s native App. Its a fantastic STEAM activity that boosts students creativity and self-reflection. You can also use your emojis for a music Makey Makey project. Have students roll an emoji App Dice or use a random selector for your emojis. Have students string the various emojis together and then use Soundflower or Scratch to create musical sounds that reflect what each emojis represents to them and make an amazing music composition from it. Don’t have something like a Makey Makey or Raspberry Pi? Use simple music Apps like Garageband or Piano Keys to make your musical symphony, after all music not only moves us but also inspires our creativity. Using emojis can really bring a new type of learning to your students from understanding the five senses to teaching sequences and making stories come to life. Emojis come in several varieties, on any platform and they are just plain fun and can really roll out learning for everyone. All you have to do, is give it a try.

 If you want to see examples of ways to use emojis in the classroom head over to #Emojigrading at emojigrading.weebly.com or look for some right here on Dice UP the Classroom. That’s going to do it for this episode, if you want to know about the Emoji Classroom or Emoji Grading please look up my fellow educators: Jon Smith (@theipodteacher), Dena Glynn (@glynn_ed), Jason Sand (@jasonsand), Cheryl Steighner (@cherylsteighner), Carolyn Skibba (@skibtech), Don Gobble (@dgoble2001), Julie Jacobs (@EHSMrsJ), and Mike Lewis (@145lewis) or on Twitter under #emojigrading or #emojiclassroom. Thank you for support and I’ll see you next time.

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