The goal of Melissa Ankersen’s lesson was for students to design their own emoji for the purpose of communicating about a current event.
Ankersen teaches sixth-grade Gateway to Technology at Philip Simmons Middle, and wanted her students to consider how texting is a form of a communication.
Ankersen said with the ever-increasing use of digital platforms and social media, "meaning is often misunderstood".
So she had her students create their own emoji.
Students worked through the design process to create, design, describe and share (via a digital platform) an emoji that explains their thoughts and feelings about a current event. Most of the students’ emojis represented the pandemic and depicted would be a smiley face – except they are wearing face masks instead of smiles.
One student wrote that the face mask emoji could be used as a way to say “remember to bring your mask” via text.
Students came up with other ideas too – like a pile of trash as a way to protest pollution, a “stop killing whales” sign and a circus tent crossed out as a way to voice a concern about animal cruelty.
Ankersen’s traditional learning students and blended distance learning students were able to share the emojis with one another.
“Students loved the ability to create something and then share it out where the whole class could see them,” she said.