by Glen Downey, Comics in Education, www.comicsineducation.com
Visual Brainstorming Once Again Proves Its Worth
I love this recent example of visual brainstorming submitted by my student, Ben. It's the product of a short article he read about Giussepe Pinelli, an anarchist whose death was the inspiration for Dario Fo's Accidental Death of an Anarchist, which I blogged about a couple of days ago. There are so many wonderful touches here that bring together a diverse array of cultural phenomena, including comics, social media, and good old-fashioned brainstorming.
The dialogue balloon, "In order, there is chaos... In chaos, there is order. #anarchy #yoloswag," wouldn't look out of place by any stretch in the Twitterverse, but neither would his lists look out of place in a free-writing or brainstorming assignment. Somehow, the comics-inspired illustrations bring it all together, and blend historical events with Pinelli's own view of himself in an insightful visual brainstorming exercise.
What blows me away, however, is the crossed-out list on the left hand side of the paper. So many times as teachers we encourage students to cross out and continue when they make a mistake rather than white something out or erase.
We are very wise for telling them this!
Not only is it a time saver, but teaching kids that it's okay to cross out pays dividends in a situation like this in which the crossing out becomes a rhetorical strategy that shows a deep understanding of the circumstances surrounding the play and the underlying themes of the play itself.
We can't get to the bottom of the mystery about what happened to the ill-fated anarchist. The only thing we can be sure of is that he was very likely misunderstood.
So, as I've been saying over the last few weeks since starting this blog...Do this exercise with your students.
You'll be so glad that you did!
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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