by Glen Downey, Comics in Education, www.comicsineducation.com
We often wish we could see what our students are thinking... and we can.
Today, I presented at the 2014 CITE Conference at Upper Canada College in Toronto. The participants in the two workshops were fantastic and UCC did a wonderful job hosting the event. I talked quite a bit in the afternoon session about visual brainstorming and was reminded of something important that you should share with students if you have them do this activity.
Visual brainstorming is not about drawing. It's not an exercise intended to give art students a feeling of technical superiority over their classmates. Kailey's work above is a wonderful example of visual brainstorming that might not strike you as being particularly visual. It's not big on pictures or illustrations apart from the odd arrow or word balloon. That's because Kailey has focused on a principle that I go to great lengths to explain to students, and that I've blogged about before:
Visual brainstorming is not about drawing. It's about brain dumping."
Look at how much is going on in her head in and around the subject of the stock character known as "the wise elder" who we see in everything from medieval drama to contemporary film. Imagine she was writing a paper about this type of character. She's practically written one already!
When I was showing this to participants this afternoon I was forced to confide something that might seem rather shocking. This work was not marked. It wasn't submitted for a summative grade, and was not even formatively asessed. The student, in fact, had no expectation of having the work evaluated because it is, after all, an exercise in allowing her to get her thoughts down on paper.
And look at the time and the care and the effort put into it!
Dr. Glen Downey is an award-winning children's author, educator, and academic from Oakville, Ontario. He works as a children's writer for Rubicon Publishing, a reviewer for PW Comics World, an editor for the Sequart Organization, and serves as the Chair of English and Drama at The York School in Toronto.
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