Prior to this week's module, I stumbled upon the effectiveness of engaging some of my students in learning activities supported by graphic design by observing one particular student who would put uncharacteristic effort into choosing the "just right" font and images to support her writing or google slide deck that she was creating. When I would question why she was investing so much energy in the visual representation of her learning, she would look at me with a quizzical expression and essentially tell me that she wanted to make her message clear and easy to understand. My interpretation of her nonverbal and verbal response also lead me to believe that she was trying to make sure that I recognized her work towards a Secure level on the learning progression of the topic. It's tough getting schooled by a fifth grader!
According to the wyzowl blog, Albert Mehrabian, a Psychologist, found that 93% of communication is nonverbal and as I reflect on this possibility, it takes just a few moments to look around my classroom and school building to realize just how embedded graphic design is in our daily communications and culture. We see the American flag appear on our Morning Announcements Nearpod presentation, and my students and I immediately stand up to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I don't have to say a word, the students are cued by the image of our nation's flag.
I've begun to incorporate student-choice in matching up new vocabulary word definitions with either hand-drawn or digital images to encourage retention of word meanings. The students who really take the time to think about, compare and contrast a variety of images and reflect upon which one best supports their understanding of the meaning of a word, are more likely to retain and use the words in their writing and speaking. Later on this Spring, we will move into studying World War II and some of the propaganda that was used by the Axis and Allied Powers to persuade citizens to believe in their causes. I have a poster of Rosie the Riveter that I could use as a discussion starter or Socratic Seminar topic to help my students to deepen their understanding of graphic design and it's influence on society.