View Content #28278

Content Type4
TitleHashtag It!: Tips for Decoding Hashtags

by Carla Consolini, CASLS Research Assistant

This activity was created for Intermediate to Advanced learners, but it is also appropriate with few adaptations for Novice learners. It focuses on comprehensive reading skills in the digital media sphere and decoding hashtags as elements that add meaning to messages in digital discourse spaces.

Learning Outcomes:
Learners will be able to:

  • Identify hashtags on digital media  
  • Explain how hashtags are connected to the contexts in which they are used
  • Reflect on the meaning hashtags add to messages

Mode(s): Interpretive

Materials: hashtags video, hashtags observation template


  1. Watch the hashtags video with learners. It explains what hashtags are and how to analyze their meaning in context.
  2. Provide three different hashtags to learners in English (or their L1). Have them search for the hashtags on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. As they research, they should take notes individually or pairs on the hashtags observation template.
  3. Repeat Step 2 with hashtags in the target language. More advanced learners may be able to find these hashtags on their own, but it is a good idea for the teacher to have some recommendations that align with curricular needs.
  4. Learners will compare and contrast their observations from Steps 2 and 3. They will discuss these observations in pairs.
  5. Debrief as a class. Ask learners to identify when they feel most comfortable decoding hashtags and why. 
  6. As an ongoing research task, ask learners to collect images of social media messages that use hashtags in the target language. At scheduled points, ask them to share what they have collected and work as a class to decode those that are confusing and to discuss which ones they find to be the most successful and why.


  • The “scheduled points” mentioned in Step 6 should be regular. For some classroom contexts, these will be daily. For others, they might be every other day or weekly. Teachers are free to engage in this process for as long as it makes sense for curricular needs.
Inputdate2020-10-22 07:50:35
Lastmodifieddate2020-10-26 04:35:04
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Publishdate2020-10-26 02:15:01
Displaydate2020-10-26 00:00:00