Tuesday, March 6, 2018

6/31: The GIF Whisperer

Every day, I make a new agenda screen for my 7th grade English class. Every day, I include the basics. What to do when you walk in the door. What supplies you need to grab. What we're going to be doing today (despite including this vital information, I still have approximately 3.2 students ask me this very question each day).

But I always include something a little extra. A GIF. If you're not familiar, a GIF is an animated picture that loops the same 2-3 seconds over and over again. They're tiny snapshots of funny moments: a dog looking particularly cute, a person totally biffing it on a bike, a snippet from a popular TV show. I then connect the GIF to our classroom in some way with a pithy little caption.

I'd like to say I include the GIFs for my students, but really, I get just as much pleasure out of finding the perfect one each day. Sometimes, they match what we're doing in class. For example, today, we're kicking off our argument unit by discussing next year's change to daily PE, a shift that has a lot of students up in arms. Therefore, today, my screen simply asked which GIF matched their opinion:


Some days, my GIFs match the day of the week:

Are you an Oscar, a Darryl, a Kevin, or a Meredith?

Other times, they serve as lighthearted reminders:
When you tell Ms. K that you forgot your book in your locker...
Sometimes, they sum up what everyone's thinking:
Current mood.

But no matter what I pick, my GIFs always bring a smile to my face...and hopefully, they do the same for my students. After all, we could always use a little more humor in our lives...especially at school.


  1. You brought a smile to my face! I LOVE GIFs! I feel like I sometimes think in GIFs, if that makes any sense. Not only are they funny, but they make you infer things about what's happening in the picture, which is actually a really great thinking skill. How lucky your kids are that they have a funny and super cool teacher. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I could see that this might be the reason to come to class. What's the GIF of today? might be the spark that brings them in. Very funny!

  3. I'm feeling a bit like your last GIF! I bet this was a really powerful way to introduce your argument unit. Your kids are going to have some strong opinions about something that pertains to them.

  4. I'm with you! I share the GIFs more for myself than the other person. I have a friend who believes there is a Britney Spears GIF for every occasion, so we are always trying to prove that correct (so far, 2 years running, and it is!)

  5. I LOVE GIFs! I've had entire conversations through text using only GIFs. Definitely the second PE one for me! I love giving GIFs as options for responses. I had never thought of that before! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Welp I just got an awesome idea to spice up my Morning Procedure. What a cool and fun idea that grabs the kids attention. I'm a little jealous of your 7th graders because I don't get to see the GIF for tomorrow.