Beyond Words: Meaning in Motion

Curated by Katherine Frank
May 13, 2011

Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” is a poem that resists containment:

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome rathes outgrabe.

The language trembles with energy and begs for interpretation that stretches the reader’s imagination beyond the form of the poem. “What do these words mean?” the reader asks, and the interpretative process leads to association with sounds, images, and spaces that allow interpretation of what it means to “gyre and gimble in the wabe” and what “the mome rathes outgrabe” looks like. The language pulls us away from the page and begs for more.

This collection consists of four resources that challenge readers to approach the reading process in new ways as to deepen thinking and enhance learning through consideration of kinetic text. The reader is asked to contemplate what language calls for in terms of visual and aural representation—motion, color, form, sequence, sound, etc.—as well as what happens when static text is transformed into kinetic text through an active interpretative and creative process.

The four resources are presented in such a way as to introduce readers to kinetic type, deconstruct the process of creating a kinetic poem from an instructor’s point of view, present a student example of a kinetic story, and demonstrate the power of kinetic typography and simple images through a professional example. Danielle Nicole DeVoss’s “Kinetic/Moving Type” provides the introduction through a series of examples that emphasize the importance of selecting content carefully and keeping presentation rather simple and consistent when creating a kinetic text. It is through the discussion prompted by this resource that leads to Kevin Hodgson’s resource, “Illuminating the Process of Creating an Illuminated/Kinetic Type Poem.” In his initial post to the discussion of DeVoss’s resource, Hodgson asks: “How does one go about doing this with students?” And, in his next post to the discussion thread, Hodgson shows how through his own creation of a kinetic poem. He deconstructs this process in his resource. The third and fourth resources are both authored by Elyse Eidman-Aadahl. The first of these, “Illuminated Text: A Student Exemplar,” provides a student example inspired by a viewing of Jenny Lee’s kinetic rendition of Hemingway’s Cat in the Rain. Nicole Scott’s “Toothpick Ocean” is both an impressive example of student work and a powerful example of how kinetic texts can help students invent, create, revise, and think critically about the writing and reading process. The second resource provided by Eidman-Aadahl, “Simple but Powerful Animation: A Professional Exemplar,” features The Girl Effect project and uses an animated example that combines simple images and kinetic text in a problem-solution format in order to send a powerful and straight-forward message about young girls living in poverty.

When reviewed in sequence, these resources provide an informative introduction to kinetic text and the ways it can be used in the classroom to improve critical thinking, reading, and writing skills and emphasize the power of well presented and articulated arguments.

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