Ideas for Visual Literacy

Discussing Images
~ Lori Jackson

I have used this visual literacy activity. across grade levels with tremendous success. I seek images, things like paintings, drawings and excerpts from primary documents, and blow them up as large as possible. I like to use about a dozen. These are mounted on the wall, and numbered. Then students prepare their notebooks, creating a three column chart. Column one (narrow) to record Image #. Column two (wider) to jot down noticings and column three (widest) to record inferences. Students are paired or trio'ed and assigned an image to get started with. Using a timer, I would give students 3-4 minutes at each image. It is NOT necessary for every student to get to every image, but you do want teams to get to at least four or five images. When this is followed by discussion, it is a great way to get the juices going. Most recently, I used this with eighth grade students on the eve of a science fiction unit and used movie posters, book jackets and so on. They were able to develop some conjectures about science fiction and it got them excited about the unit.

I would also find song lyrics from this era. I love poster conversations (thank you Harvey Daniels) and find kids really like the idea of written conversations.

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