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John Davis's Story
Visible Learning from Visual Learners
This year in my tenth grade English class, I had many students who enjoyed Manga, graphic novels, comic books, or a combination of all three. They were each very familiar with the boxed and framed storyboard format of illustrated texts like those mentioned above, and using that knowledge, I tapped into several resources at ReadWriteThink.org that captured their attention. One was the Comic Creator. My graphics-driven students absolutely loved using literature that was recently read and creating a six-frame comic strip. It worked especially well during our short story unit, and allowed the students to put each plot, setting, and cast of characters into a new and reinforcing format that they enjoyed.
The second resource that came in handy this year was the Diamante Poem interactive. Because a majority of my students are very visual learners, the graphic organizer allowed them to "plug in" the needed information in an approachable and understandable way. My students who were enthusiastic about comics particularly liked this task, as the framework for the poem was not altogether different from the frames of a comic book page. The sense of fulfillment they experienced from completing their own Diamante poems was great, and many of them still ask (months after the completion of our poetry unit), "When are we going to do that Diamante again?"
Using the student interactives on ReadWriteThink.org has proven to be a valuable experience for both me as a teacher and for my students. I recommend it to all of my colleagues, and they are reaping the benefits from it, as well.
When using the Comic Creator, don't be afraid to "take liberties" with the exact descriptions of story characters.
When using the Diamante Poem Generator, make sure to emphasize the meanings and uses of each part of speech in the poem.
Having an interactive whiteboard to use in conjunction with these tools is a great help.