Monday, March 21, 2016

Create your own memes

There was something I loved in Kenzie's face and her shout that reminded me of the Whitman line "I sound my barbaric yawp across the rooftops of the world."  So I created a meme to capture that moment.

I stumbled upon this meme generator, and it has been very useful.

I have become fascinated with memes for several reasons.

1.  Some people on Facebook seem convinced that if it's a meme, it's true.  I've seen a meme about an American flag with the caption that said some American had to take his flag down because it offended his Muslim neighbor.  Maybe it's true, but it's highly unlikely that it isn't.  It's just propaganda.

I later saw a man in a crappy car holding all of these war medals up to the camera.  The caption read this veteran is forced to live in his car.  Share if you think it's wrong that he lives in his car while immigrants are given free housing.  Again, there is no real evidence that anything on the meme is true.  Yet, it gets shared as a fact as if it was published in the New England Journal of Medicine!

I see this shared so often on Facebook that it is starting to make me question my faith in humanity.

Here is an example -

No teachers in Finland aren't paid as much as doctors.  I know that for sure.  Who knows what other lies exist in this meme.  It would be nice to think that solving our education system would be as easy as paying teachers more, giving students more recess, and getting rid of high stakes testing, but is that the truth?


But it meets a specific group's needs, so why not create a meme and share it as if it were true?

2.  Creating your own memes is a great, creative way to do any number of things in your class.

I stole this idea from a TIES session last year.  The presenter had us all write a six word poem about what it means to live in Minnesota.  He said he would give us more points if we found a picture and then found a way to put our poem onto that picture.

As soon as he issued that challenge, I thought of the website imgflip, which allows you to generate your own memes, from either your own picture or pictures from the web.

Here is my example from that TIES session -

Then I decided to take a question that I used to motivate myself every day on the way to work and put that on a picture that illustrates what goes on in my classroom on the best days.

Here is an assignment where I asked my CC 2 class to do the same thing I had to do in the TIES session.  Then I asked them to come up with another original meme of their own.

I could see almost any class making good use of this tool.  Here are just a couple more that I generated that focus on some of my key belies about teaching.

This one comes from a great session in CC 2 from several years ago.  The students were tasked with teaching a chapter of the book we were reading (this one was from Steven Johnson's Where Good Ideas Come From).  

First, Isaac had us share our thoughts about a prompt he put on the board via Twitter (which is why Tweetdeck is displayed on the SMARTboard behind the girls).  

Isaac also had borrowed his mother's yarn.  He asked us to stand in a circle (or sit atop desks as Ashley and Miranda are doing here).  Then he held the end the string with one hand, said the word "Facebook," and tossed the roll of yarn to a classmate.

He instructed the classmate who caught the ball of twine to state another form of social media that they had used already that day and toss it to another classmate.  






When the yarn was spread out in an amazing web, Isaac said, "This web represents all the different connections that social media can make.  So if you send out a mean Tweet, it can end up on Instagram.  From there it can be shared on Facebook or Pinterest.  So if you put something out into the world via social media, look at all the different paths it can travel.  Even if you delete it."

Stunned silence.

Isaac totally drove his point home.

I love to tell that story.  Luckily, I fished my Blackberry out of my pocket (yes, it was that long ago), and took a quick picture to document it.  Later when I heard this quote, I thought of this moment right away.  Thanks to imgflip, I was able to kill two birds with one stone.

Another cool feature of imgflip, is that you can easily share it across social media platforms.  George Courus is a fantastic educator, author, speaker, and blogger.  When I read this line form his book The Innovator's Mindset, I immediately thought of Kenzie's teacher, Mrs. Tunseth.  

Mrs. Tunseth gave us the envelop you see in the upper right hand corner.  She had confetti that Kenzie could open the night before the first day of school so she could have a confetti party!

Brilliant.  I snapped a few pictures during our confetti party, used the iPhone app layout to make a collage out of them.  I quickly uploaded it to imflip and added Courus' line.  And I tagged him in the post.  He favorited it on Twitter when I shared it.

Here is another meme that builds off the previous one.

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