3 Ways to Use Memes in the Art Room

You might adore them. You may despise them. Either way, memes are part of our contemporary Internet environment, and they are almost impossible to ignore. I figure, why not take full advantage of them since my middle schoolers are completely obsessed and crazed over memes? They pin them uncontrollably (usually ones about cats), they post them to our Edmodo class wall, and they use them as wallpaper on their iPad screens. It is because of my students’ obsession and instant engagement with memes, that I absolutely love using them in my middle school classroom. Today I’m sharing 3 ways you can use memes in your room!

memes in the art room

1. Use Memes as Visual Classroom Reminders

Memes make a great introduction to classroom rules and procedures. With so many expectations in an art classroom in terms of cleaning up, material storage and supply safety, memes are a great way to inject a little fun into everyday, mundane classroom tasks and management. Below are some of my favorites, both found online and self-created.

Memes#1

Memes#2

 

memes#4

 

Memes#3

 

Memes#5

2. Use Memes as Art History Prompts

Memes can also be a humorous way to introduce or remind students about specific artists, movements, or styles. Having students explain the connection between the image and the saying can spark conversations about deciphering meanings or intent in artwork. Again, here are examples found from various other sites.

Meme#9

 

Memes#8

 

Memes#6

3. Use Memes as a Project Theme

Push critical thinking skills further by using memes as project inspiration. Encourage students to research an artwork and define a suitable saying to convey not only the appropriate tone, but also a tidbit of information about the artwork, artist or time period.

There are many meme-making sites and apps out there, but most will contain content not appropriate for school use. Photo editing apps and sites are great options (Aviary, Pixlr, BeFunky) as well as Photoshop for older students. Even word processing software can be used in a pinch to make a meme. Most memes use the font, Impact, for the overlaid phrases but encouraging students to choose their own font can be a beneficial lesson in how typeface can help portray a message. For more ideas on how to incorporate a meme-making lesson into your curriculum, check out Artful, Artsy Amy’s post about how she uses memes in her middle school art classroom.

Even if you may be entirely sick of seeing memes online, there is a good chance that your adolescent students are not. They can be an engaging way to reinforce your classroom expectations, introduce or review art history and even promote higher order thinking skills.

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How do you use memes in your classroom?

What are your favorite memes for explaining classroom expectations? Do you use memes to teach art history?

 

Tracy Hare

Learning Team

Tracy is a middle school art teacher from central MN who strives to create rich, meaningful content and resources through her Art Ed PRO Director role at AOE.

Related

  • Mr. Post

    https://imgflip.com/ is a site you can use to create your own memes. I made these to explain classroom procedures at the beginning of the year.

    • This is so good, John! Kids love pop culture. This will really capture their attention. I am still chuckling.

      • Mr. Post

        Hi Jessica,
        The kids loved them. I used these to talk about the boring stuff – classroom procedures – at the beginning of the year. Sometimes if a class is misbehaving a kid will say “Hey be careful, we don’t want him to become grumpy cat.” Pictures always stick in the brain way better than words… I will have to make new ones for next year – the kids will expect it.

  • Lockie Chapman

    Wow – Tracy — you’re good!

  • Laura

    i have made a lesson plan using memes, 8th grade students had to create a rage comic style meme that showed a day in the life of an 8th grader, which went over very well. We covered the history of the meme and meme theory, how memes are spread, etc. It was a great project! I also use memes for my first day of class reintroduction to the class rules, via a powerpoint. I try to make a normally dry and boring day more interesting :-)

  • Ellen Kudlicki

    I teach high school courses where we aim to prepare students for the work ethic and ideals of competitive post high school programs. I love memes and most students I have understand my slightly sardonic sense of humor. I posted these back in August and other than a random snicker, the kids simply move on. But I do find having these posted makes it where I don’t have to say these things quite so often.

  • Amy

    I just wrote a grad school paper on this topic from an art education perspective.

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