AFL, LEARNING, RESOURCES, TEACHING

Different ways to use emojis in the classroom!

Students love emojis, that’s obvious! Although emojis are used to communicate via messaging, teachers can also embrace emojis in the classroom…to help engage students and aid learning, if appropriate. Not as a gimmick or trick which in my view distracts from the subject content or serves no purpose.


I have previously posted about my emoji exit ticket, other ways emojis can be used in the classroom include…

Emoji starter. Using emoji characters students have to work out what the lesson will be about. This is a short, snappy starter that acts as a hook and allows students to make links between the emojis and the subject content, linking to lesson outcomes. This can be emojis connected to the lesson or used in a ‘dingabt’ style to get students thinking!

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This was a way to introduce a new unit in Religious Studies, based on places of worship and holy buildings.
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The Black Death!
Keywords.Emojis are characters that represent words and emotions. A simple way to introduce key words is by using emojis and students have to make the links. For example, the emoji below can be used in my History lesson where the key word could be crown, monarch, royalty, King, Queen, Princess etc. Answers on a post it, white board or this can lead to a class discussion.
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Emoji think and link!
Give students a series of emojis and they have to either annotate or answer how each emoji is connected to the topic. Here is my example below, withevery emoji is connected to the topic, the Black Death!

Emoji quizzes!


Classic quiz games that work well in the classroom can be updated for this generation of students by inserting emojis. Here are some examples that work well. Odd one out, can students guess the odd emoji and explain why. Another game; if this emoji is the answer then what is the question? In my experience this works well with the answer/emoji projected onto the whiteboard and students write their questions on their mini whiteboards. I often play key word bingo with students, they are either given nine key words or select them. Then I or another member of the class will state a definition and if they have the key word matching that definition then they put a cross through it until someone gets a line then the full house! Replace the keywords with emojis and either state the key word to match the emoji or the definition matching the emoji! 


Emojis are a great way for students to reflect on the lesson and self assess. As well as the emoji exit tickets students could have their answers/exit tickets/reflections on a post it and stick it on the emoji of their choice. Students can also use the emojis for self assessment in a  similar way to the traffic light RAG colours. The example below is a subject specific self evaluation, helping students identify their strengths and areas for improvement in a simple way. This is also very useful for the teacher and can help with future planning and differentiation.


Displays. I currently teach in Wales so I have a responsibility to promote the Welsh language. I decided to create bilingual display posters, with classroom language such as praise words, instructions etc and used accompanying emojis. Emojis are a nice way to update your classroom and appeal to students, so that they are working in an environment with images that they can relate to and like.


There are lots of ways emojis can be used in MFL, to help students remember vocabulary by associating key words with the emojis. Guess Who is a popular MFL game when students are learning to describe physical features. Don’t pay to purchase a class set of Guess Who games! Print off some different emoji people onto cards. Give the cards to the students and then their partner has to guess which emoji they have by asking questions or from the description provided.

Another idea for MFL, that can be adapted for other subjects introducing new vocaulary, is to match up the key words with emojis images. The example shown is from my Year 7 Welsh class learning vocabulary connected to hobbies. The emojis just add extra fun to this match up activity.


I have used emojis when marking, obviously not when providing detailed feedback on formative assessment but for general written work. Instead of using the standard tick or gold star stickers the emojis have more appeal to students and there are a wide choice of emojis available that can link with ‘What went well…’ or ‘Even better if…’. Emoji stickers/stamps can be purchased cheaply on Amazon here.


For more ideas how emojis can be used in the lesson follow  Primary Teacher Lee Parkinson at @ICT_MrP. His iBook ’15+ ideas for the emoji keyboard in the classroom’ is certainly worth a read, lots of great ways to use emojis in Primary School for teaching  and learning including to develop literacy and numeracy skills! 

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. If you’ve been inspired by any of these ideas I’d love to hear from you to find out how you’ve taken them / adapted or remixed them and used them in your classroom. Please feel free to follow my blog and leave comments below or why not just drop me a message on Twitter .

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