Do you find yourself giving the same advice to student writers over and over again? Sometimes I feel like I just can’t get certain things to stick. Students need to see and hear certain ideas over and over again to internalize the message and actually put them into practice. Enter memes. I’ve seen some teachers do amazing things with memes, so I thought it could be a good idea to put some writing tip memes up in my room. Basically the idea is that I would talk about the story behind the meme and connect that story to some key writing advice. Then I would print large memes to put up in the front of the room above the white board where students can see them everyday and remember the story. I could also include some bullet points around them and refer to them occasionally.
The first meme comes from a movie in which the main character is an clumsy dancer, repeating the same dance move too often. From this one, we can talk about overusing the same sentence structure and the same word or phrase. (Note: I would not show the clip of this movie in class as the main characters are drinking in a club during the scene, but students are familiar with the context for the most part and can understand the premise just with the brief explanation.)
This meme reminds students of the horror experienced in the movie Home Alone when the mother realizes she forgot one of her children. I could accompany this with advice about the absolute necessity of proofreading and double checking for style and usage. This clip is easily found on youtube to drive the point home.
Although Ferris Bueller took his day off in 1986, this cult classic is well-known among the high school students in my area of Southern California. The monotone teacher can remind students to add variety in vocabulary and sentence structure as well as interest to arguments.
Poor Olaf! Everyone who has seen Frozen knows that this wacky snowman is unaware of the consequences of summer, basing his whole song on a false premise. I could use this as a jumping off point for using research and literature appropriately. The song (or essay) can be catchy and beautiful, but if the facts don’t support the argument or miss a major premise, the reader is laughing at you, not with you.
What pieces of writing advice do you give over and over again? What memes would you add? We’d love to hear form you in the comment section below!