It’s hard connecting with students via distance learning. You’re on one side of the screen. They’re on the other. Even worse are the distractions! One kid’s parent is walking around half dressed. Someone’s got Peppa Pig blaring. And, a million little un-muted squares are vying for attention. How is any teacher supposed to engage students in a meaningful way? To combat the divide, teachers are creating a virtual Bitmoji classroom to share lesson materials, class agendas, announcements, and more. Plus? It’s fun!
Have you been bit by the craze?
- How to Use A Virtual Bitmoji Classroom to Organize Your Life
- Designing Your Own Virtual Bitmoji Classroom
- How to Make a Bitmoji
- Virtual Bitmoji Classroom Tips & Tricks
- A Word About Copyright
- 15 Awesome Virtual Bitmoji Classroom Ideas
- Virtual Classroom Templates
So you’re thinking of making one. But, what do you do with it? What’s the purpose other than it being a fun activity to keep you busy and entertain your students? Link to assignments on your Drive, YouTube videos, websites, etc. Anything that can generate a link is something you can post in your classroom. Be sure to make it organized, educational, and inviting. These fun spaces are not just for classroom teachers, either. Specials teachers can get in on the fun, too!
Here is a list of ideas for how to put your virtual Bitmoji classroom to work for you!
- Design Agenda Slides
- Create a Virtual Art Show
- Make Google Classroom Header
- Post Announcements
- Design a Choice Board
- Create a Google Form Header Graphic
- Desktop Background
- Virtual Library of Content-Specific Books
- Professional Development
- Virtual Field Trip
- Google Sites Header
- Compose Award Certificates
- Class Photos
- Staff Photos
- Display Videos in Google Slides
Are you seeing the possibilities but not sure you can tackle this? Stick with me, folks.
Are you just starting your Bitmoji journey? Start with a Google Slides document. When you open a new Slides doc, it’s likely already widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio). If not, you can change the size by going to FILE >> PAGE SETUP. If you’re making a Google Classroom header graphics, you can go to the same location but select CUSTOM from the dropdown menu and type in 16.67in x 4.17in for the size.
Now that you have a blank slate, here are some fabulous videos to get you going. You’ll begin by figuring out a background for the slide.
For additional support, join the Bitmoji Craze for Educators Facebook group. There’s lots of support and encouragement for what’s being created. Ask questions. Post ideas and works in progress.
Download the app to your personal device and design your Bitmoji. Then grab the Google Chrome extension and log into your account. All your characters will be found there. To use one in your virtual classroom, find one your like and drag and drop it onto your desktop. It’ll already have a transparent background. Then you can drag it into the classroom scene.
Slaving away designing your own virtual Bitmoji classroom? Here are some tips and tricks on designing.
- Don’t squash your Bitmoji. To adjust the size, use the little squares on the top and bottom right and left corners. If you try to adjust it by pushing in the left or right side of the graphic, it’ll be, well, squashed.
- Use drop shadows on objects. This will help make them stand out. It adds depth to the scene. And it makes them look more realistic. To make a drop shadow, right-click on the object, go to FORMAT OPTIONS >> DROP SHADOW in the pane on the right side of the screen. You can set the transparency, angle, distance, and blur.
- Keep it simple. If the scene is too busy, student’t won’t know what is the clickable content. Now, if you’re making a portrait of a bunch of people, it’s hard to keep it simple. I mean, all those Bitmojis! In that case, make the background with as few objects as possible. Wall, floor, and maybe one prop. That’s it.
- If you’re designing a room with less virtual characters, don’t completely clutter the room with multi-textured objects. It’s an overload on the senses. And it can be hard for students to pick out what content should be engaged with. Try to balance out things with rough, bumpy, or very busy textures with ones that are smooth.
- Speaking of content, the only things on the page that should be “live,” or moveable are the clickable photos or text links. Sharing in Google Slides in present mode works. It’s best to save your moveable pieces as a jpg, insert those into the background of a fresh slideshow, then add clickable links.
Search for images that are copyright free and don’t require attribution. Because while it’s fun to design your classroom, it’s important to follow the law, too. Photographers, clipart designers, and other content creators like myself are protected under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act).
Don’t let this bust your groove. Filter your search results by user rights. Use it to find freely sharable graphics. Go to Google Images and type in a word like “transparent couch.” When the search results filter, click on TOOLS >> USER RIGHTS.
I also recommend checking out Pixabay which has freely sharable content.
If you’re still stuck and need some inspiration, I’ve prepared a list of ideas to get you started. You can recreate any of these ideas yourself.
Have your students make their own Bitmoji. Compose them in one scene for an end of year photo! And don’t worry if the characters are doing silly things. That’s what adds that extra bit of charm to your virtual Bitmoji classroom.
Faculty and Staff Photos
Why not virtually gather your staff for a fun photo to send off your students for the summer? First, share basic instructions on how your co-workers can create their own. Then make a shared Google Drive folder for them to deposit their portraits. Lastly, have fun composing them in a space. Bonus points if you have a snapshot of the front of your school, the gymnasium, library, or other large meeting spot at school!
Bitmoji Virtual Field Trip
If your class trip got canceled, why not host one virtually? Use an image of map as the background of the slide and create links to engaging video content that feels as immersive as possible. Touch upon all of the sights and sounds of the location.
Kinda like a field trip but with the aim of seeing the most popular sights and attractions throughout a country.
We all know that the classroom is a great place to learn new things. But so are everyday spaces likes restaurants. Why not bring your students to a unique locale to teach your students how learning math, science, social studies, languages, and the Arts are applicable to real life experiences? This is an awesome way to differentiate your lessons. This example shows three levels of instruction (Lemon & Herbs = tough; Medium = tougher; Hot = toughest).
Staycation in the Backyard
Can’t get away? Why not promote healthy choices like getting outside and away from devices by reading a book, drawing, painting, or collecting things from nature to compose into art? You can link to videos and other resources that students can use to further explore outdoors.
Keep it Real
Do try to make a virtual Bitmoji classroom that is as true to life as possible for times when you’re using it for instruction. Adding touches like a soft teddy bear, real instructional posters, and even the class pet are nice.
Show Off Your Personality
Go all out! If you’re a huge fan of a certain sports team, let it shine! Your students connect with what you love even if they don’t love it themselves. Got a class pet, favorite goofy Van Gogh ear eraser, or some fun desk toys kids love to tease you about? Make sure to include them. Trust me, they’ll notice!
Treats Are Sweet
When in double, double down with some digital goodies. Nothing wrong with coaxing kids into learning by surrounding them with treats they can’t eat. And hey, there’s no such thing as digital cavities, either.
There’s a lot more to be done with a virtual Bitmoji classroom than just passing on content. Use them as a reminder for important passwords, classroom jobs, your daily “to do” list, important website, and more. Create a corkboard and pin sticky notes to them
Sport Your Rainbow Flare
I’m a big fan of the rainbow. Double rainbows are even better. If you have a love of the rainbow, why not bring it into your space. Or whatever decorative palette or motif you so desperately would love to have in class but maybe you can’t. (I’m looking at you, rainbow-hating admins!)
OK, I’m wildly biased because I love kitties. But this virtual Bitmoji classroom idea will work for any pet. We all wish we could bring ours to school. Well, here’s a chance to have them digitally with us all the time!
Get Pumped with Virtual Stations
It’s hard to teach stations when you have no stations to go to. But here’s a great way to make it work! This idea would be doable for any subject that utilizes them. Just make your background something relatable. And make links to video content that demonstrates the task at hand. And add one character for each station.
Remember, if you’re making your virtual Bitmoji classroom instructional with links to content, you need to give clear instructions on what to do. This helps set the expectations for the experience. The directions don’t have to be on the same slide as the room. But be sure to include them.
And if all of that’s not enough, some uber creative types are turning them into movies!
Who Has Time to Design a Virtual Bitmoji Classroom?
Now, I’m not going to lie. These are a lot of work. A LOT.
Teachers are spending all day and night and then some creating them. Not everyone has that kinda time on their hands. All that searching the internet for pictures that might not ever be found. It’s hard enough keeping your own kids on time with virtual lessons and meetings when all they want to do is crunch -n- munch on the couch.
That’s why I’ve gone ahead and designed some custom rooms for you. I’ve taken all the frustration and guesswork out of making a space that’s warm, inviting, and yes, customizable!
That means you can edit them how you like. All the graphics are moveable. Add text and images of your choosing to make it your own. Link to assignments stored on your Google Drive, YouTube, Vimeo, or anywhere on the internet. And of course, add in your Bitmoji.
All the graphics are hand-drawn by me so you can be sure you have permission to use them to create your space. They’re saved at a low resolution that appears crisp on screen, but are not print-worthy.
And you know, do Mother Earth a favor and don’t be printing your virtual Bitmoji classroom scenes. No need!
I’m already starting to see people share their creations and they’re pretty stellar. I even spoke with someone who was going on an interview and needed something to “wow” the administrators.
I encouraged her to add personal touches that would make the space her own. Things like pictures of student artwork, posters, and even a picture link to her online teaching portfolio!
Imagine walking into your next interview with something like this in your back pocket? When you’re asked, “What can you tell us about creating a classroom community every day?” you can pull up your virtual Bitmoji classroom and say, “Tell you? Let me show you!”
If you’d like to grab a copy of either of these scenes, smash the big pink button below.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Have you created your own classroom? Even better, how are you using it?