This week's #clmooc make cycle #2, creating a meme was a challenge for me. I was flummoxed, frustrated, and doubtful of my ability. But I persevered and I created 3 different memes. I learned so much through the process...but it wasn't so much about how to create memes. It was more about myself as a learner and thinking about the implications for my classroom.
First, memes are a relatively new genre for me. I read them and laugh at those I see posted on Facebook, but I never thought about making one. I don't see myself as that clever, witty person who creates memes. When I read the assignment, a bit of dread sat in the pit of my stomach. (Hmm..wonder how many of my students feel this way when I introduce a new genre to them?) I decided to do what I would ask my students to do. I immersed myself in the genre. It's advice I heard from Katie Wood Ray, many years ago when I attended one of her sessions at a conference. It's advice I still adhere to each and every time I begin a new unit of study with my young writers.
So, I read memes, I read blogs and more blogs about memes, I read articles on how to make memes. I collected memes to use as mentor texts. I read and read and read for 4 days straight. I sought an expert. My brother-in-law creates memes all the time. He's got that sense of humor that just lends itself to meme making. I asked him for some support. He gave me advice which you can see below in our FB conversation.
Finally, on Friday night, I sat down to create some memes. Wonderopolis came to the rescue (like they often do) with this post about memes. They provided a link to this Pinterest board about memes which would be great to share with my own elementary aged students. It helped me get going.
I wanted to make my own, so I thought about this past week's events. The Luis Suarez bite seemed like good material. I shared my thinking with Tom and he gave me some feedback. (Little did he know that we were having a writing conference).
This is the first meme I made using imgflip.
Here's the second one I made after reading Mary Ellen's blog post where she suggested using song titles.
And lastly, I had to go back to Tom's Hokey Pokey suggestion. One of the things I found was that the picture is just as important as the words. Figuring out how to make the two work together is part of the challenge. I scrolled through picture after picture, discarding different ideas until I came upon a picture of Vladimir Putin. There was just something about the look on his face (and who he is) that made this funny to me.
Right now, I'm thinking a lot about helping kids choose tools based on their purpose and audience. I know that I had several kids in my class last year whose sense of humor would have been perfect for this kind of project. It would be an interesting mini study on humor in writing. I can see kids creating memes to put into their blogs or as part of a bigger project. I'm keeping memes in mind for next year's digital writing group of 4th and 5th graders. I think they'll enjoy it.