Using Emojis and Big Hero 6 To Develop Children’s Vocabulary

I am lucky enough to know some fantastic teachers who share their brilliant ideas. This post is about a lesson I taught yesterday with my Year 4 class using ideas from Lee Parkinson (@ictmrp) and Mat Sullivan (@InspiredMind5).

As a class, we have been using the film Big Hero 6 as a stimulus for our literacy work. This was one of Mat’s ideas. For this lesson, I wanted to find a way of developing children’s vocabulary using this stimulus. A set of 15 iPads were available for the lesson as well.

I began by introducing the children to emoji sentences which is an idea of Lee’s. If you don’t know what this is, it involves presenting the children with a series of emojis that describe a sentence. The children have to work out what the sentence is. For KS1 children, you might leave it at that. However, with my Year 4 class I banned certain words to make them really think about the vocabulary they could use. After much head-scratching and lively discussion, the children were using sophisticated vocabulary for Year 4 such as ‘horrified’, ‘ambled’, ‘elderly’.

To develop this further, I had saved a trailer from Big Hero 6 into the Year 4 dropbox folder. The children accessed the trailer through the Dropbox app, making notes in their jotters about what was happening. Then they used the Explain Everything app to retell the ‘story’ of the trailer inserting appropriate emojis where possible. At first, some children said “Mr Goodman, there aren’t any Big Hero 6 emojis!” But after thinking about it some more, they became very creative with the emojis they used with very pleasing results. I will add a couple of images of the results to this post at some point.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable lesson to be part of and the children showed that they were able to extend their vocabulary with the right stimulus.