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The Role of Visualization in the Writing Process. Chelsea McBride. About me. M.A. in English Worked as an Adjunct Composition Instructor at University of Illinois at Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College, and Lake Land College Also worked as a Grants Specialist at Lake Land College
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The Role of Visualization in the Writing Process Chelsea McBride
About me M.A. in English Worked as an Adjunct Composition Instructor at University of Illinois at Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College, and Lake Land College Also worked as a Grants Specialist at Lake Land College Now at UIUC studying literacy education in the department of curriculum & instruction. I’m specifically interested in secondary reading/writing education.
Contentions The writing process is personal and different for everyone, so I try to discover how I can teach systemically while meeting individual needs. Educators should strive to make literacy skills essential to real things in student’s lives. Educators should help students gain conceptual understandings of the texts they read, and to have meaningful writing experiences.
Standards CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3d Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Background for this Idea • Class - Theory on Thought and Language • Vygotsky • Nietzsche • Bakhtin • Rosenblatt
Vygotsky(Thought and Language) • Pseudoconcept is when a person knows an answer is right but doesn’t understand why. • True conceptual understanding is when a person recognizes why the answer is right. • Take a minute or two and turn to the person next to you and give other examples of this concept
Vygotsky(Thought and Language) • Distinguished between word meaning and word sense • A word’s meaning is the generic, accepted definition and can be found in the dictionary. • The way people actually use words, the emotional responses they attach to them and the visuals they associate them with make up a word’s sense. • Take a minute or two and turn to the person next to you and give other examples of this concept
Inspired by Vygotsky • I argued that the process of visualization gives sense to word meanings and moves our understandings from pseudoconcepts to full conceptual understanding. • I am striving to learn how we can push his theories to apply to the writing process and how, as an educator, I can use this knowledge to help students’ and my own writing processes.
Nietzsche (On truth and lie in an extra-moral sense ) • Nietzsche wrote about the imperfect nature of language. He suggested that people can never know absolute truth because language always fails at being completely accurate – it is, instead, a string of metaphors. For Nietzsche, words are human creations that lack the true credibility of reality, which means all language, both written and spoken, is up for interpretation. This affects conceptual understanding. • Take a minute or two and turn to the person next to you and give other examples of this concept
Inspired by Nietzsche I argued that the process of visualization connects our imperfect language to our actual world; thus, visualizing prior, during, and after the writing process is crucial for moving from pseudoconcepts to full conceptual understanding.
Overarching argument of my Paper Language is only truly useful when it, as closely as possible, represents the concrete images that make up reality and elicits a visualization of those images. Bridging language and images, requires readers and writers to visualize the connection between the real and the represented. In other words, images are able to help people conceptualize in a way that words cannot, which means that writing without visualizing is not as efficient
Questions How can this information help literacy development by being applied to the reading/writing processes What previous research has been done to support using visualization to develop literacy skills. What kinds of activities can educators create to make these ideas tangible?
Related Reading • Anonymous (2009). You gotta see it to believe it: teaching visual literacy in the english classroom, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 53(3), 216-226. • A student named Jake had read “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” While he could recite basic information about the book’s plot, he did not fully comprehend what he had read. He began constructing, through a series of conversations with his teacher, a picture of a rearview mirror that represented his understanding of the book. • His sketch included details that represented deceit, regret, and revenge like a blood-covered evergreen air freshener that hung from the mirror. “Jake had learned to use the details from the book, as well as his own detailed interpretations, leaving him with a much stronger understanding of what he read than he had possessed before” (p. 221).
Related Reading • Deringer, M., L. (2003): Visual response to YAL that encourage higher level thinking. Voices From the Middle, 10(4), 11-12. • To help her students excel at offering personal responses to literature, Deringer (2003) asked them to create a visual image that represented the work they read. • “Challenging students to respond to literature through this visual medium results in students searching for significant themes that they can express visually, thereby understanding the literature at a deeper level than if they responded only in writing” (p. 12). Students linked the representational language to a contextual, conceptual reality.
Related Reading • Davidson, J., L. (1996) How drawing in conjunction with writing contributes to literacy, Educator’s Voice, 1, 36-43. • “The process of drawing and writing in a series stimulates children to make connections between letters, words, and visual symbols. It sparks their interest in acquiring the skills to communicate their ideas through images and words” (p. 36). • Her article focused on two specific students, Carisse and Alex. Both students showed an improvement in their writing while drawing basic images to complement their stories. Their excitement grew from increasing recognition of words and letters and an ability to write longer stories. Constructive feedback is vital to the drawing and writing series (Davidson, 1996).
Visualization? In your own words, define visualization and reflect on if you think it contributes to your (and/or other people’s) writing process in any way.
How I defined Visualization. The process of making sense of generalized word meanings by connecting words to concrete images by thinking, remembering, and imagining.
Step one of Activity • Look at your picture and Brainstorm! • Ideas for Brainstorming • What memories does the image/picture bring back? • What ideas come to mind when you look at the image/picture? Can you connect these ideas to your personal, professional, and/or academic life? • Who else does the picture make you think of? (family, friends, colleagues, celebrities, etc …) • What other images/pictures come to mind when you look at your picture? • Is there a story, subject, argument, or poem – true, partly true, fictional or otherwise that the picture can inspire?
Step two of Activity • Create! • Create some sort of visual representation of one thing (or multiple things) from your brainstorming session – draw, sketch, etc .. (Ideally, when not in a classroom, this part should be created from a medium that you want to explore.) • It does not need to be a polished drawing!
Step three of Activity • Write! • Use an idea inspired from today’s activities to compose a piece of writing. • You choose length, style, and genre.
The Final Round The light was blinding and it only served to change my focus momentarily. My eyes were quick to adjust as they had always been. Within fractions of a second I could make out the source of the brightness. The massive lights above the ring that served to highlight every inch of the action were drilling directly into the back of my skull. Why was I looking up? Then the pain. My face felt like it had been smashed directly into by a bus. Why am I looking at these lights? I suddenly felt a horrifying sensation from my lower half. My feet weren't making contact with the mat. I was airborne. I shot a glance to my left and could see that the ropes and I were completely in line with one another. I inched my head forward and looked down at my feet and could see the Champ barreling down on me. How long had it taken me to get here? Is this really how I was going to go down. Nine grueling rounds only to be knocked out in the first minute of the tenth? I could see glimpses of my training, all my teammates and friends flashing before me. I couldn't let them down. I was here. I was on the world stage. I could feel every one of them cheering for me. None of that mattered I was about to make contact with the mat for the third time. I could only see out of my left eye, I could feel my ribs throbbing and it at least three of them were broken. I closed my eyes and prepared for the end. Then suddenly I could feel it. I could feel the coaches hand on my back. He had smacked me on my way out onto the ring the way he always did. I could feel his hand and everyone elses'. I struggled to shift my weight but I managed to get
Ryan It was morning when I found out that you had passed I had no words I just collapsed Your heart was too big Is what they tell me It’s sad ironic And, in a way, funny You weren’t the sweetest person I knew You were kind of angry And slightly rude The first time we met You called me a fartknocker Stuck your arm out the window And gave me the finger You said it was your tree Not to be climbed by girls Not to be climbed by me You came over and asked For some of my pizza I gave you a slice You said, nice to meet ya We became best friends Swimming buddies, trampoline jumpers, and bike riders Mortal Kombat opponents And Resident Evil Survivors It had been years Since we’d spoken We’d moved on from the past Our friendship was broken But then you were gone It happened in an instant No one was prepared How could we have been I didn’t realize how much you meant to me Without you in my childhood I could have ended up so differently I wanted to say these things to you I didn’t when you were alive And not at your funeral I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t know what to say Or, if I was too sad Or just felt out of place So I write these words, now, for you I hope you can feel them Because they are the truth
Hulk Smash Many of us lose track of time. Some for just a moment, some for maybe hours while lost in the fantasy of imagery that surrounds us via technology in our daily lives. Whether it’s internet browsing, researching, or climbing the ranks of League of Legends to a level 99 paladin, the time flies by. Years even. As I flip through photos that make me nostalgic for a more youthful, innocent time, I realize how fast our lives can pass before our eyes. While on one hand I’m wistful for those previous times, mostly I’m thankful for the epic adventures I’ve had with those I love. I couldn’t be more pleased for the ride I’ve had, with old friends and new ones, and I can undoubtedly say I’ve lived it to the fullest, with no regrets.
Reflection Share what you’ve written with the person next to you. Did the process of using a picture/image and creating your own visual representation inspire your writing process at all today?
Discussion Can you suggest changes to improve today’s activity – either in steps or content? Do you have suggestions for other ways to create a tangible bridge between visualizing and writing? How can this information help literacy development by being applied to the reading/writing processes Do you know of research, besides what was mentioned today, that has been done to support using visualization to develop literacy skills. What kinds of activities can educators create to make these ideas tangible?