Teaching with Emojis: Integrating Emojis in the 21st Century Literacy Lessons

Learning difficult and innovative things can be tedious. Well, no one will oppose that. You’ve had your period in your school with teachers who only keep on lecturing – annoying. With that, you have to confess that there were some days that you didn’t want to attend your classes and listen to that teacher’s voice.

And now that you became a teacher yourself, you’re becoming like that. Ironic, right? I bet you always desired to be like that cool teacher you had before or even just to be better than your most uninteresting teachers.

21st Century Learning

A glance around at a group of youths assembled on the high street or gathered in a shopping mall will quickly expose the irresistible obsession of the young people with technology. Well, is it any phenomenon?

Cellphones, tablets, and laptops all flourish, and the attraction of these cunning gadgets is all but tempting. Well, many parents who have struggled to separate their children from their devices long enough to finish their schoolwork know well.

In the face of this nearly all-influential distraction, how can you, the teacher, press-gang this technology into the facility of educational purposes. How can you solicit this powerful tool to help in the teaching of literacy lessons and skills?

Spice Up the Lesson with Emojis

Letting your students engage in learning is a challenging mission. However, it’s not an impossible one. Others always got a means to achieve a mission impossible. Why can’t you? There are more than 2,000 emojis – add them in your lessons for extra spice.

Integrating emojis on lessons is something unique, modern, and it keeps the students engaged. Just go for it!

Emoji-use in Writing Prompts

One challenge for teachers is to encourage learners to use emojis to improve their written language and skills appropriately. This goes beyond making use of emojis to engage them in writing a rebus story or talking about their feelings.


Ponder on how a lack of context can point to misinterpreting a situation or an individual’s action.

For instance, “This is the best script I’ve read in my life!” might be understood one way. However, the additional context, “It is the only play I’ve seen all of my life,” could turn the statement to be quite a sarcasm. It’s possible to add this playful viewpoint by using an emoji, “This is the best script I’ve read in my life! 😊”

Language Meanings

Encourage learners to use diverse emojis to express how they alter the meaning of their message.

For instance, “that’s terrible 😡” is very different from “that’s terrible 😞.”

Literary Device in Storytelling

Get the learners to become used to using emojis as a literary tool to express different feelings.

For instance, consider this line “shocking news has arrived.” Then enhance it using either 😱 (screaming in fear emoji png) to express surprise, 😡(angry emoji png) to show anguish, 🔥(fire emoji png) to show excitement, or 😲(embarrassed emoji png)  to show embarrassment.

Emoji-use for Communication Skills

Language plays an essential role in how learners form meaning and progress in conceptual understanding. Understanding how meaning changes and language develops through usage is vital if they are to learn how to use it effectively.

With this, it is up to the teachers to teach learners how to originate meaning from the words and language we use. This approach embraces understanding the ways to use emojis in communicating various purposes.

Emoji-use for Class Surveys

Learners enjoy talking about their personal usage of emojis. To take full benefit of their interest, ask them to plan and conduct a survey for the class. Of course, they decide what questions to include. To help, here are some suggestions. Learners can refer to their phones if necessary.

Example Questions:

  1. Name three emojis which you would never use. Why?
  2. What five emojis have you recently used?
  3. How many emojis did you have or inserted in the last text you sent?

After conducting the survey, learners can compile a report or a graph on the emoji conducts of the class.

Emoji-use to Annotate, then Orate

Encourage learners to interpret their script or speech for a presentation through recording proper facial expressions, gestures, and additional body language over the suitable part of the written text.

This will aid as an easy way to note the right expression that they wish to complement and support their message as they deliver the oratory. This activity will also encourage them to consider facets of communication except for the spoken word when they’re delivering oral presentations.

Emoji-use in Book Summaries

When the learners read a book in school, they often need to create a summary of it to verify that they’ve read it. It’s boring, isn’t it? Plus, we can find several reviews online. We can’t assure that they can’t just copy and paste it.

So, here’s an idea using emojis for this: let the learners summarize the book with emojis. Use them to label the characters, the setting, the problem, and the solution of the book.

Example: A Little Prince Book Review

Characters – 🤴 🌹 🦊 🐍 👑

Setting – 🏜️

Emoji-use in Conversations

For an appealing writing activity, don’t look further. An emoji dialogue is all you need. The learners will work in pairs and choose five emojis each. Now here’s the goal: create a conversation, where they integrate one emoji into every message.


Learner 1 (chooses weary emoji): Hey, I think I forgot my phone again (displays weary emoji).

Learner 2 (chooses eye roll emoji): Hayss, how can you be so forgetful? This is the fifth time this week (inserts eye roll emoji).

Final Thoughts

One of the most imperative objectives of education is teaching the students to become literate. The use of emojis might look unfitting for school, but they can certainly be advantageous in today’s classroom.

SMS is not anymore a secret language that’s only recognized by a minor group of geeks. It’s now widely used and understood by many. Contemporary text-speak is now here to stay, and it would make a perfect lesson in your next writing assignment or journal activity. Encouraging the usage of emojis in writing can aid engage students while providing them a grasp of phonetics and grammar.

Rather than reflecting these emoji developments as lapses, try to see them in the light of the continuing progress of communication and embrace them hence within your classroom.