Spark Interest in Writing with EmojiWrite and SnapWrite

Post an emoji, like a hand raised in red, that challenges kids to create a story focus.

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

If some kids in your class yawn when you announce that it’s time for creative writing…

spark their interest in writing with my new games…EmojiWrite and SnapWrite!

That’s right.

Connect with kids to engage them in learning by using language that pops out of the popular culture…

language like emojis and snap, as in Snapchat.

These games are fun, functional and easy for teachers to manage.

EmojiWrite – Post cut outs of one or more emojis on a board in front of the class.

Walk to the board and announce that writing time is game time for the day…the class will be playing EmojiWrite.

EmojiWrite Game Option: Introduce a writing theme by posting an emoji with a caption, like Worry Got Ya Down?

If time permits, invite students to guess what EmojiWrite involves.

Point to the emojis that you have posted and instruct students to choose one and copy the emoji as best they can on a sheet of paper.

Open pre-writing time for thinking about what the emoji brings to mind. Tell students to jot down notes based on their thinking and refer to the notes when they begin first drafts.

Note that picture association is a powerful writing tool.

For example, a hand raised might make a child think of a time when she/he was teaching a pet dog to do tricks, or a time when the child asked for help with something difficult.

Game Option: Invite students ahead of writing time to draw their favorite emojis on a board.

Tell them that you have a surprise using their emojis for later in the day. (Surprises, as you know, always catch kids attention.)

A game of EmojiWrite can be played over multiple writing periods that are based on the writing process.

Begin the game with pre-writing time. Continue the game with work on a first draft, and so on.

Try another game…

Help kids use word power by “jump-starting” the writing process with a game of SnapWrite.

SnapWrite – Like EmojiWrite, a game of SnapWrite begins with a group activity using a board in front of the class.

Begin the game by asking students to raise their hands if they use Snapchat.

Take a minute to focus attention on the two parts of the compound word…

first part – snap.

In the English language, the word snap in this context means “something easy” or “to do something in a hurry.” “Make it snappy” is a now old expression based on this meaning of snap.

As you prepare the class for writing, acknowledge that a game of SnapWrite is a fast-starting game…emphasis on the word starting.

Add that the writing process actually takes time…way more time than anyone spends on Snapchat. The game of SnapWrite is a way to help “jump-start” the process.

Begin play by writing single words in large letters, each below the other, in list form on the board. Like this…






Instruct students to copy the words you have posted on a sheet of lined paper and write complete sentences on each line, beginning with the SnapWrite word.

Encourage kids to write sentences that connect with each other, as if all the SnapWrite words are part of one story-starter.

At this point in the game, help the class grasp the concept of SnapWrite by posting an example on the board. Like this…

My brother and I heard a strange, scary noise.

Running, we headed for home.

Wind whooshed around our faces as we fled.

Power, that is what we knew we had heard; the power of the wind.

Mom made us hot chocolate and we felt better.

Speaking of feeling better, kids may not think in these terms, but strong communication skills, including the ability to write well, help kids do better. They are mandatory for success in the 21st century.

Yes…even in the age of emojis and Snapchat.

Please send comments on how you use popular culture to help children learn.

And, let me know what you would like from my blog in 2018.

Happy New Year!

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting.

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet





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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
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