Sunday, February 17, 2013

Idea Mapping/ Visual Brainstorming

After the last few weeks at Walterville Elementary (see the flurry of posts before this one), I moved immediately on to my current school: Junction City High School.  I am working with the kids in their after school program, to put together a mural about Civil Rights to be installed in time for their annual school celebration of Cesar Chavez, the Latino-American worker's rights advocate.  

Facilitating teachers and I set up a time to meet with involved students to discuss their mural.  The day of our meeting, the students were SO enthusiastic, creative, and ambitious! Exciting!

Here is the process I like to go through to help people figure out what they want out of a mural, and some images to start designing with.  Here's how we did it:

Idea mapping, brain storming, visual brain storming
 I started out by asking the students to give me ONE WORD that would describe what they wanted their mural to be about.  They settled on "Equality".  I wrote that word in the middle of the chalkboard, and circled it.  I asked them to name some names of Civil Rights workers that they wanted to include in the mural.  They came up with MLK Jr., Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez of course, Gandhi, Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks and Abraham Lincoln.  I put each of those up as bubbles branching from the center equality bubble.  Then, I asked students to think of some key images that could tell the story of each of these people's accomplishments.  Those became smaller bubbles branching out from their respective people bubbles. Our idea map was beginning to fill out.

What were they trying to say with all of this? I went into my little speech about how murals are a great way to teach others about something, say something publicly and tell a story through pictures.  What did they want to tell current and future students about these people? They said the purpose would be as a reminder to fight for good things non-violently, a record/memorial piece for these people, and a teaching tool about who they were.

Once we got all the ideas on there, I asked the kids about how they wanted to organize all this information.  The first thing they did, was get rid of Lincoln and Rosa Parks. They decided it was too much, and Lincoln wasn't really into non-violence.  One girl had the idea to have protestors as a consistent element all the way across the mural, but changing according to whoever they were next to. For example, the protestors next to Chavez would be holding signs that said different things than the protestors next to Susan B. Anthony.  Genius!!  And of course, there would need to be portraits of all these people, with maybe the images that represented them behind their heads.  So many good ideas.  I went home and played around on Photoshop to combine their ideas into the sketch below:

Civil Rights Mural

My contribution, was the idea to have each person's section divided by different monochromatic color schemes.  All the way around the border of the mural, there will be quotes from the leaders.  The mural will be 4'x16'.  I'm so excited about this project!  Check back here soon to see how it's been going!!

No comments:

Post a Comment