Emoji Madness

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Emoji Pics Composer

Emojis are ubiquitous.  Even Duolingo has a emoji course. They are a modern take on hieroglyphics that give learners the ability to communicate their feelings and understandings VISUALLY.

Here are three ways to utilize EMOJIS in your classroom:

  1. Telling stories- Including stories during writing is magical especially if students blog regularly.  Emojis can be accessed through the keyboards on mobile devices and with hotkeys on computers.  Using apps like TextingStory, will allow students to write including emojis in a very fluid way.
  2. Health Checks- Emojis are great to display quickly how one is feeling.  Using them to determine how students feel at different points of a lesson or a day can be both impactful and fun.  Apps like Assembly, Emoji Me , and Emojify=You + Emoji , allow students to customize their emojis to insane levels.  Emoji Exit Ticket
  3. Exit Tickets- As aforementioned, emojis are visual.  They are so concise.  Leveraging these allows one the ability to create exit tickets that can be created quickly, delivered quickly, and assessed quickly.  Emojis are versatile enough to be used in any program or app that allows access to the keyboard.  In addition, tools like Emoji Pics Composer, gives one the ability to create a visual timeline of learning that can be turned in at the end of the lesson.



Here at Hoodlum Central, we believe in Design Thinking. We integrate it into most things we do and it’s been pretty fruitful both in our day jobs and in our business practices.

No matter which flavor of Design Thinking one subscribes to, ideation is essential. You can’t prototype anything if you don’t have a smorgasbord of ideas to play with. While Webs and I generally do this with the Googles, I recently came across a tool I hope to use during my 9-5 hustle. Pitchcard seems like a promising tool to use in a classroom looking to encourage designing.

Pitchcard allows you to ideate publicly if you wish. You title your idea, choose a color, and then write a brief (200 word) description, which I think is awesome. Being forced into being concise allows one to hone the “spirit” of the idea more authentically in my opinion.

Once your idea is placed on the card, you can distribute it publicly on social media or privately via email.

The feedback that your idea garners is sent to the email that was entered which hopefully allows one to refine the idea into a better concept.

Classroom Applications


If you are at a GAFE school, one could utilize this tool pretty easily. Everyone of your students would have an email address, giving them the ability to send ideas to classmates efficiently and to archive the feedback so that it could be referred to when needed. Generating feedback on ideas for projects and writing assignments just got #mosexy.

Exit Tickets

Looking for thoughts about what students learned during class? Don’t want to create a Google Form or use Exittix? This is a pretty streamlined way to gather information from your students about what they learned or struggled with during the school day.

Lesson Feedback

So you want to know if your lesson was the bomb or just bombed? Send a Pitchcard to your students and allow for feedback.

Lesson Plan ideas

Send a Pitchcard to colleagues about an idea for your have for that quantum physics lesson and see what they say.

A Open Ear to the World

Say you’re a teacher with very little technology at her disposal and you’d like to use the tool. If you had a classroom email or social media setup, you could have students generate ideas that could be posted for feedback and then disseminate that feedback to students. Class project could be #mosexy if you sent a Pitchcard rather than used snail mail or limited contributions to conversations in the room.

In short, Pitchcard is a tool I hope to roll out next week during my day job. Students will be pitching video game ideas and Pitch could be a very slick way of making students feel even more empowered.

The Compliment Sandwich

“We really loved your presentation last Thursday. However, we’re going to have to let you go. It’s really been a pleasure working with you.”

“You are one of my best friends. I asked Janet to be my maid of honor. I’d really love it if you could make your famous cheesecake for the reception.”

We’ve all been victims of it. The Compliment Sandwich. A tried and true method for delivering even the most stinging news.

A cookie sandwich > a compliment sandwich

Sounds like a great idea: You’ll sneak in the bad news or criticism between two gushingly dripping compliments like a mother trying to hide some extra vegetables by grinding them up in the spaghetti sauce.

I started to wonder in the shower (because that’s where all the best ideas come to mind – the bathroom and driving), “Is the compliment sandwich more detrimental than helpful?” I’m here to present you with no evidence and only positing my crazy theory.

Specifically, I was thinking about administrators giving feedback to teachers after observations. I’ve heard administrators and bosses in general subscribe to the idea that you MUST give some kind of criticism, “Everyone has room to grow right?” Har har.

Sure, but do we have to give criticism for everything? What if it was a perfectly good lesson? What if the teacher is in a good place and just needs some positive feedback? Believe me, a teacher who cares what you have to say will have already had the critical thought that’s about to come out of your mouth.

Then, the boss searches for something, ANYTHING positive. What if that lesson or observation was truly awful? Now you’re searching for any positive thing to say and you know it will be disingenuous. It will be teetering on the edge of a lie.

In both situations, you’re really filling in information that may not be necessary and thereby cheapening the feedback you’re giving. Instead of adding extraneous information, why not stick to what is authentic. If there was something good, share it. Maybe there was only good stuff. If it was dreadful, share that. Feedback is challenging. It can be easy to forget about the good as much as to avoid the confrontation of the bad depending on your personality type. Either way, the compliment sandwich should be a guideline more than a recipe. My advice would be to use it sparingly.