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Using Memes in the Classroom

While memes are ubiquitous in society today, many instructors fail to tap into their potential in an educational setting. Memes are simply another kind of cultural shorthand that, like all forms of communication, evolve with those that use them. This is especially so for today’s EPIC (experiential, participative, image-driven, connected) learners. With that in mind, choosing to use memes in a meaningful way not only ignites student engagement through humor and creativity but also encourages critical thinking and classroom culture.


Here are a few ways to incorporate memes into your classroom courses:


  1. Communicate Course Rules, Procedures, and Expectations


Consider jazzing up your classroom or course syllabus with a few memes illustrating your rules and procedures. Not only are they likely to get your student’s attention, but they are also more likely to

remember them!




Here’s a slideshow I previously shared with my high school students. I would go over it on the first day of school and keep it linked in my Canvas courses throughout the remainder of the year.


  1. Vocabulary Acquisition


Students can use and share memes as a vocabulary resource tool. As it is that memes are highly inferential, students are not only better able to understand the meaning of words but apply them.




  1. Formative Assessment


Memes can be a fantastic resource when reviewing material or checking for understanding. Students will use both creative and critical thinking skills while creating or finding a meme related to the unit studied. While it may seem like an oversimplified task, the task at hand utilizes complex metacognitive and abstract thinking skills.


Using Canvas Discussions as a platform offers a space for you to check for their understanding and encourages collaborative learning and community connection. Plus, these discussions can serve as excellent review material before an assessment.




  1. Introduce, Promote, and Reinforce Curriculum


Consider using memes to generate interest and excitement for a new or complex topic. You might consider using them throughout a presentation or lecture, in the module overview, or an announcement. This can be an excellent way to garner interest and hook learners.




  1. Use as an Ice Breaker or Check-In Activity


Memes can be a fantastic way to get to know your students better. Allowing them to use a language they are familiar with (memes) can be a great way for them to feel comfortable and safe, which fosters an authentic learning environment.














Another one of my favorite activities I did in my classroom is the “What I Really Am” meme activity, which encourages classroom connections and self-reflection. If you are unfamiliar, this particular meme expresses the way others see you vs. how you see yourself. I loved this activity at the beginning of the year, but it also served well when examining character motivation in my literature units too! Here’s the template and my example that I would share with my students.


Needless to say, there are many ways to use memes in your course. Wanting help brainstorming or developing a new meme activity? Make an appointment with me! And, as always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions, curiosities, or concerns!

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