Lessons: Freshmen and Infographics

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The goal:

My freshmen would create Infographics, visualizing the research they completed. They completed an annotated bibliography earlier, the theme being “Will Technology Make the World More or Less Peaceful?”

Infographics are great for this because they are challenging, new, and easy to share. With an essay, we slog through a gauntlet of terrible habits. I risk an aneurysm every time a freshmen reminds me that a paragraph is anything over 4 sentences. Infographics means everyone starts fresh.

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The Results:

Mixed. Some were really good, some were not so good. There was some correlation between great bibliographies and great infographics.

What went well?

Lucidchart combined with physical (paper) graphic organizers. I don’t like to shrill for technology, but Lucidchart is really that good.

–The Big Board. I would project random student’s Lucidchart (not their screen) throughout the course of the class.  Kids were thrilled. The most common start to my class were two students arguing about which one of them would be “featured”. I did put some less-than-stellar work on the Big Board, but only after substantial warning.

–“Infographic of the Day”. The invaluable Diana Laufenberg provided me with some amazing resources. For our Do Now, we’d critically examine an infographic on the board. This helped acclimate my guys and provided quality samples.

–Annotated Bibliographies are terribly underrated. A great way for freshmen to show their research in an area they understand.

–Rigid Deadlines. See below.

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What didn’t go well:

–Freshmen.

–Freshmen.

–FRESHMEN. Pure, unfiltered immaturity. There was apparently a love triangle in my class that turned into another love triangle that ended up with everyone crying. I am Jack’s utter lack of empathy.  Anyway, strict deadlines and phone calls to parents helped a lot more than pedagogy. Freshmen.

-These were more “visual essays” than infographic. We didn’t do too much with visualizing data. Speaking honestly, I’m not sure we could with the time allotted.

What I would have done next time:

I think it would have been neat to grade the project…then give it back. Pushing process over product is missing from freshmen.

Stricter deadlines to push the pace. This seems dumb. I guess I can be dumb sometimes.

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