😁 😂 Emoji!!! 😁 😂

In a recent post, I spoke about the importance of speaking “kid” and touched upon the idea that our students communicate in ways that can be very different from the ways in which we grew up communicating (depending on your age of course). For me, my 4th-grade teacher didn’t have an answer for me when I asked how to cite Encarta as a resource, cell phones were non-existent until I was deemed old enough to vote, and the internet made a noise when you logged on.

But times changed fast. For my younger sister, she was texting in T-9 speak (yes I’m dating myself) by 10 in her social studies class and was expected to use the internet for research by high school. Fast forward 10 more years and my 8-year-old believes every piece of technology moves by touching the screen while YouTube, Wikipedia, Musical.ly, Instagram has the answer to everything! She also believes that the best way to communicate with me when she sends me a text message is through the use of a series of emoji’s that I am supposed to magically understand. Sometimes she communicates she is 😰 😥 😪 😓 😭 , other times she is  😁 😂 😃 😄, other times, she 😇 ➡️💲🍦 ➡️  😍 ❤️ 💁.  Regardless it’s a series of pictures strung together and when I do not respond correctly to their meaning, I am usually met with a series of 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 !!!


While I imagine most people reading this regularly use emoji at some point while communicating on their phone, for the few that don’t, an emoji is defined by Merriam Webster as, any of various small images, symbols, or icons used in text fields in electronic communication (as in text messages, e-mail, and social media) to express the emotional attitude of the writer, convey information succinctly, communicate a message playfully without using words, etc. On an aside, the emoji  should not be confused with emoticons which are a combination of symbols, letters, and numbers on the keyboard to represent human emotion (for example … >{:o)-|–<)

Even though they may feel new, emojis were originally developed by Shigetaka Kurita in Japan in 1999 by a cellphone carrier called NTT DoKoMo i-mode.  The emoji (which translated  means – E – picture and moji – character) was the answer to the cellphone carriers dilemma of 80 million people trying to communicate with the use of pictures to express emotion on their phones.  Over time emoji became such an integral part of communication that the Unicode Consortium oversees each little graphic.  More about emoji and the Unicode Consortium can be seen in this video;


The more I researched emoji, the more my brain started to fill with learning activities involving them.  From poetry to art to math to writing, the possibilities seemed endless and the examples, like the ones below, are inspiring;


With so many different directions to take emoji’s in English the possibilities for how you can use them in this subject range from a means of basic communication to an essay written in emoji – like this version of Romeo and Juliet

Image result for romeo and juliet emoji

Writing – Writing Standard 1 – Using the following prompt as the foundation for a well developed essay based on the standards for the given grade level in Writing Standard 1;

Emoji’s have become very popular in society as a form of communication.  Often times we look for specific emoji’s to use and they just don’t exist.  Since becoming an emoji is not easy, the designers have to be very specific when they decide which new emoji’s to make.  Look at the proposed emoji’s chart and chose the emoji that you feel should be the next one to develop.  Write a letter persuading the emoji designers to chose that emoji.  Make sure your writing includes a well-developed topic sentence (thesis) and supporting details.

emoji candidates.png
Clicking the picture will bring you to Unicode’s page for proposed emoji’s.  Please keep in mind that since these emoji’s are still in the proposal phase, a copy and paste of the table will not include the emoji as they have not been officially coded yet. 

Social Studies

This idea only came to me after speaking to my cousin who teaches 6th grade. She was struggling with her students and their internet use. As we talked we joked about how kids speak in code and pictures. While very true the content-to-self/world connection between ancient civilizations is almost too good to be true. When we teach our students about early forms of communication we often talk about pictures. We as a society are in many ways reverting back to an early form of communication through emoji. For example;

Modern Day Rosetta Stone – Use the following prompt as a foundation for a well developed learning task on language and communication over time.

In 1799 archaeologists uncovered what is now called the Rosetta Stone. The find was one of incredible historical importance as it contained three languages on it – hieroglyphics, demotic, and Greek. By comparing the three languages scientists and historians realized that the same message was written in all three languages. Because of this one stone, historians were able to understand hieroglyphics. As our own society continues to evolve, we too are using pictures as a form of communication – Emojis. Some people do almost all of their communicating in emoji’s while others have already begun to translate songs and poems into emoji.

As a class historian your task is to develop a story about something historically important either during the times of the Egyptians or something that is historically important now.* Translate your writing into both hieroglyphics and emoji on one side and your native language on the other. Much like the Rosetta stone, your native language is the key to unlocking the mystery of the present and past! As a class, we will put everyone’s modern-day Rosetta stone into a time capsule for future classes to try to decipher.


GE has created a website that capitalizes on the use of emoji on science topics. Using the table seen below, anyone who visits the site will be brought to an interactive version of the table featuring DIY projects, materials, games, and science related questions.

Image result for emojis and science

They even feature a series of Bill Nye videos that have  taken emoji’s to the next level. The short videos explain everything from Climate Change to evolution to holograms!

And if that is not enough science through emoji – consider posting this challenge to your students


Given that emoji’s are pictures, the possibilities in the art are seemingly limitless.  From simply drawing your favorite emoji, to creating new emoji’s to using emoji’s one can take it as far as one is willing to with emoji’s.  Below are some of the best examples I have seen of emoji in art.  Engaging students in a project that combines classic and contemporary art with emoji is a great way to make some deep and long lasting connections.


Like it or not, the cute little pictures that have evaded every smartphone keyboard in the world are here to stay.

From pop culture to bettering our means of communication, it is important that we help our students learn the best ways to infuse them into our society in this special but important teachable moment! 😁 😂 😃 😄


And if what I have not already written is proof enough, here is some additional resources and research on Emoji’s and why these new age hieroglyphics are here to stay.  Domino’s made sure of that!



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