Strategy

Meme Engagement Hook

Meme Classroom Connection

Meme Engagement Hooks use images, videos, or texts that have been made popular through social media, to increase student engagement and excitement. Memes combine a recognizable image with text in order to comment on popular culture, usually with humor. Effective memes for the classroom should be instantly recognizable and culturally significant. Using Meme Engagement Hooks in the classroom helps teachers build meaningful and culturally relevant connections to academic content. Memes can be used to introduce a topic, make connections to prior learning or personal experiences, as well as spark interesting discussions.

Implementation Tips

Know Your Memes
Select popular, relevant memes that are age-appropriate. Visit [[http://knowyourmeme.com/|Know Your Meme]] to find memes as well as research the origins and meanings of specific memes.
Create a Meme
Create memes for the classroom using [[https://makeameme.org/|Make a Meme]]. When doing so, be sure to select images or use text with which students can relate. When looking for pre-made educational memes, check out [[http://www.teachermemes.com/|Teacher Memes]].
Know Your Audience
Avoid selecting memes that use sarcasm. Lower grade-level students may not understand this type of humor while other students may find it inappropriate. Try to select memes that do not make jokes at the audience's expense.

Examples

Classroom Norms
A teacher can prepare a presentation using various memes to establish classroom norms and procedures. For example, a teacher might show this [[https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-zPd837yVcwUFhFRDhqRl9Idm8/view|meme]] of a popular movie character saying, "You came to class without a pencil?" The teacher can ask students to discuss with a partner how to they might solve this problem. After sharing as a group, the teacher can then show the slides that demonstrate the classroom expectations for how a student should get a pencil when they don't have one.
Vocabulary Activity
When introducing new vocabulary, accompany each word with a meme to demonstrates the definition. For example, when teaching about verbal irony, a teacher might show this [[https://media.makeameme.org/created/verbal-irony-you.jpg|image]] of a grumpy cat using verbal irony. Alternatively, a teacher might create a shared [[https://www.google.com/slides/about/|Google Slide Deck]] and assign every student one slide with a vocabulary word to which they have to find and match an appropriate meme based on the definition. This slide deck can then be used as review for an upcoming vocabulary test.
Student-Created Memes
After completing a unit on the 1920s, students in small groups can be tasked with creating their own memes related to trends from that decade. The students are given a list of popular culture categories (e.g. sports, movies, fashion, music, radio, women, celebrities) and a website that will create their memes (e.g. [[https://memegenerator.net/|Meme Generator]], [[https://imgflip.com/memegenerator|imgflp]], [[https://makeameme.org/memegenerator|Make a Meme]]). In groups, the students can present their memes to the class along with the information learned from researching each topic.
Class Discussions
While teaching students about reliable sources, a teacher can show this [[https://i.imgflip.com/81m9c.jpg|meme]] of a quote falsely attributed to Abraham Lincoln, "Internet quotes aren't always reliable." The teacher can then post thought-provoking questions, "How do I evaluate the credibility of sources and determine which ones to use for a specific task?" and "Why is it important that I know how to evaluate the credibility of a source?" Students can discuss why this meme might seem credible to some people, why it is not credible, how they know, etc. Afterwards, students can categorize the traits of a credible source based on the discussion and as they begin to learn about what truly makes a reliable source, the class can confirm the accuracy of the list of traits and make edits as needed.

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