rhetoric

Taking it to the authorship stage by making comics was clearly valuable.  Their written reflections demonstrated the creativity and insight they used in making the comics.  What on the surface might look like hastily drawn comics now look like thoughtful first drafts, or thumbnails.  I would love to see what they could create with more than one day to make the comics. Also, as I watched my...
The student reflections suggest tremendous growth.  Though few of them claim joy at being assigned Thoreau’s essay in the first place, they clearly put thought into the visual rhetoric of their comics.  Here is a sampling of comments from their reflections: I made a point to emphasize the quirky comfort that Thoreau felt in prison [by showing that the prisoners’] expressions are content. The...
Students need critical awareness of visual rhetoric for a variety of reasons, but one big reason is the increase of time spent in digital environments where visual elements mix readily with traditional text.  Comics might seem like an antiquated response to this need, but making comics allowed us to explore the basic elements of visual literacy in only a week.  If we had more time, I would gladly...
 A range of students’ comics are linked here, with two also posted below.  Their comics vary widely in artistic quality, but that is fine.  The elements we practiced don’t depend on aesthetics.  The student samples show the range, from stick figures drawn in pencil (fig. 1) to more polished work that uses color (fig. 2), but all of them show students trying out elements of visual design: zooming...
The old and oft-maligned genre of comics offers us one possible answer and a unique way to include visual literacy without having to wildly alter the classroom curriculum.  Here’s how it worked for me. My AP Lang class reads Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience” as an anchor text in a short synthesis unit about the freedom of speech.  In the past few years, I’ve taught a visual...
ThoreauMirrorImage_0.jpg A Closer Look Shows a Different Crisis  The media insists that the American educational system is in a state of crisis, but this is exaggerated at best and a total load of malarkey at worst.  Schools in America are achieving as well as or better than ever before—an argument made quite well by Paul Farhi at the American Journalism Review.  ...
Late to the game, I've recently become intrigued by the six-word memoir form. Started by Smith Magazine in 2006 with the question, "Can you tell your life story in six words," the idea has gained a lot of traction. Organizations like National Public Radio have picked up on it and Smith Magazine has published Six-Word Memoir anthologies to great popularity. For those of us on Twitter, compacting...
Released in 2009, The Digital Writing Workshop (Heinemann) blends the pedagogical approach of a "writing workshop" with the technical and rhetorical features of "digital writing." This collection features a number of resources related to the concepts presented in the book, many of which feature fellow NWP teachers and examples from their classrooms.
      Once students (at all three campuses) were done with their analyses, they were asked to publish their work to a common blog-site, Edublogs. Posts were categorized by the website under analysis. This enabled analyses in common to be grouped together. You can take a look at my class blog below:
      Once students (at all three campuses) had completed and published their analyses on the class blog site, students were then asked to respond to each other. Student online response has to be carefully constructed. If not, there is the danger that superficial comments (those reminiscent of myspace comments) can take over. Because our goal was to create a space of thoughtful dialog we created...

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