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!
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.
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.
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 (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.
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?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.