The Bitmoji Classroom: A fun and creative way to virtually recreate the classroom environmentBy Jeremy Mitchell
After listening to feedback from parents, students, and teachers alike during spring emergency remote learning, a few consistent themes emerged. First and foremost, that everyone really, really missed each other. You’re definitely in the right place if you believe that the relationships we build in our school communities are the bedrock and jumping-off point for any future meaningful learning. The second most common piece of feedback we received was that many were overwhelmed by the amount of information coming at them.
This summer, the curriculum and teacher leaders in our district spent countless hours processing the feedback we received. They came up with actionable plans whether we would find ourselves in a face-to-face, hybrid, synchronous, or asynchronous remote virtual learning environment.
Our school district, Grand Blanc Community Schools in Michigan, made plans to return to learning in a hybrid model, but changing local conditions led us to pivot to remote synchronous instruction.
While we all wish we could be together again as things once were, that is just not possible. The challenges that many are facing across the world are a stark reminder of why character education is so important. Our collective character strengths help us process, adapt, and move on to co-create new models to solve life’s challenges.
The creativity of educators and families during the pandemic has been, and continues to be, inspiring in so many ways.
Teachers everywhere are diligently organizing digital curriculum from numerous vendors as we speak. No one-stop shop for curriculum exists, which is both a deficit and a strength. Teachers have always served as content developers and facilitators, and the buffet has traditionally been literally served on, and within, the walls of a classroom.
I recently saw a teacher meme that showed a scene from the sitcom Friends, where the characters’ heads were lined up top to bottom, peeking around a door. The meme’s words referred to teachers clamoring to see if the school custodians were done with summer maintenance so they could get in and start setting up their classrooms.
While there is absolutely an interior design element that goes into getting a classroom ready for the school year, the vast majority of the work is about visually organizing curriculum supports, anchor charts, schedules, community building, and more. Online classes are not new, and until recently, they have consisted of nothing more than a bland news feed of content to consume and assignments to complete. However, one recent and creative trend has seemed to more closely recreate the physical classroom in a virtual environment than ever before: The Bitmoji Classroom.
There are so many innovative people in our field who are willing to share in a collaborative spirit. In an effort to understand the Bitmoji trend more, a quick search led me to the Hello Teacher Lady Blog. If you’d like to try making your own Bitmoji classroom, you can visit her posts about the how and why of Bitmoji classrooms. To see if it would be something worthwhile to share with our staff, I decided to try it out and thought, what better content platform to experiment with than the P2 resources!
So in the spirit of collaboration, I wanted to share my tinkering with you in hopes that it will inspire you to create your Bitmoji classrooms. Hopefully, this virtual recreation of the physical environment will lead to a stronger classroom community and, ultimately, to stronger relationships, which is the mission of P2 and schools alike.
Without further adieu, I would like to introduce you to the Positivity Project Bitmoji Classroom.
You’re more than welcome to use this with your students. If you’d like to, please make a copy and then personalize it as you wish. You can utilize it to post to any learning management system or online meeting room — all of the interactive hyperlinks in the “classroom” link directly to specific P2 Resources.
The slide deck is organized sequentially according to the 20-21 character strengths calendar and has buttons for each grade level linked directly to the corresponding lesson slides. Character card overviews are linked to the title of each strength for both teacher and student reference.
In “Present” mode, you’ll notice your cursor changes when there is an embedded hyperlink to the text or image. Examples include the icons in the bottom right, such as the whiteboard, which links to the P2 Resources webpage, or the calendar icon that links to the overview of the annual calendar. The P2 logo in the bottom left corner links to the P2 Website, and the #PositivityInAction hashtag links to the corresponding Twitter feed, a great place to learn from others on the P2/positive psychology journey.
My hope is the P2 community will modify and tinker with the Bitmoji classroom to make it better for ourselves, our colleagues, and our students so we can continue building relationships and finding the good in others.
Be well and be great!
Jeremy Mitchell, Ed.D.
Principal, McGrath Elementary