Visual Literacy Strategies: #1 Constructing Meaning from Memes

Activate your students higher order thinking and build visual literacy skills by creating memes. As students analyze, interpret and draw inferences from a graphic, they construct visual meaning. When students communicate their ideas, understandings and opinions through a graphic, they become authors who create critically and visually with minimal words. 

Memes quickly communicate information on any subject with humor which can make content more memorable. I use memes in my classroom for icebreakers and when communicating with students about expectations and behaviors. The humor helps to ease the mood and hold students’ attention. This year, I challenged students to create their own memes with a template I provided in Keynote. I don’t know why I had never thought of that before! To emphasize historical events, I asked students to create a meme during our American Revolution unit focusing on one of the major events that led to the American Revolutionary War. Some of these events included tax acts, Proclamation of 1763, Boston Massacre and Boston Tea Party, the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

     

Animated GIF of student example of American Revolutionary War memes.
Animated GIF of student example of American Revolutionary War memes.

Implementing Memes in the Classroom

  • Student Check-In 
  • End of Week Reflection
  • End of Project Reflection
  • Pre-Assessment for a New Unit/Project
  • Exit Ticket to Check for Understanding
  • Learn New Vocabulary
  • Quick Book Review
  • Emphasize a Historical Event

Action Steps

  1. Download Meme Template, choose your favorite layout, delete the other slides
  2. Select an image (Upsplash is a great space to search for student friendly photos)
  3. Add the image to the Meme Template
  4. Add text to personalize the image and convey your message
  5. Export as an image and share your work

Take It Further

  • Create image using AI
  • Add a voice recording

After students created their American Revolution meme, we circled back around to analyzing, interpreting and drawing inferences from a graphic with a gallery walk. Students were proud to show off their work and got a kick out of how students reacted to what they created.

Download the attached template to enhance visual literacy in your classroom with memes. Comment below and share how you can use this with your learners.

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July 17, 2024

Amy,

This is a great idea to have learners synthesize their learning while also having fun! Thank you for sharing ideas you rock!

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