Archive for August, 2012

map monsters

August 12, 2012

Map Monsters.

Here are a great posting and detailed instructions regarding an educational project for children by Susan Cirigliano. The idea is to combine Geography, reading maps and art – through painting over maps.

“Learning Geography can become more fun when students are encouraged to add an artistic touch. Map Monsters is a wonderful cross-curricular activity that I do with my students that incorporates Geography, or reading maps and visual arts. After learning a particular geographic of an area of the world the children look for monsters hidden along the borders of the countries! Using whatever drawing tools are handy the monsters begin to climb out of the map! “

wonders of the modern world

August 12, 2012

I have always been interested to find out more about Otto Neurath, creator of the international picture language Isotype (International System of Typographic Picture Education) and one of the fathers of is called visual communication today. He was a central member of the Vienna Circle of philosophers. Almost a century ago, in the 1920s he started developing ideas about visualizing social facts, such as statistics on labour and economy in order to make complex ideas about social economics more accessible to all. Read more about Isotype and Neurath here and here.

Like so many other talented Austrians in the 1930s and 40s he had to leave the country ultimately escaping to Britain. He collaborated with designer Marie Reidemeister, who later became his wife Marie Neurath. Just as with other coupes – Paul and Ann Rand and Charles and Ray Eames come to mind – this seems to have been a very creative relationship. After Otto Neurath died in Oxford in 1945 Marie Neurath carried on with the work of the Isotype Institute. Otto Neurath started working on books for children in the 1940s, and the Isotype Institute under Marie Neurath produced many more books for children, notably several series of informational children’s books such as ‘Visual history of mankind’, ‘Wonders of the modern world’, ‘Visual science’, ‘The wonder world of nature’ and ‘They lived like this’. Marie Neurath’s work shows how Isotype, language and presentation can work together in reducing complexity in order to clearly  comunicate ideas to children, putting  ideas for visual education into practice. All materials of the Isotype Institute are now housed by Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading.

The books show Marie Neurath’s remarkable contributions: her ability to identify unusual relationships between things and ideas, and to analyze and then synthesize complex information into bite-sized chunks. Her approach to making child-friendly visual explanations included teamwork, consultation with readers, and iteration between experts in a particular field and those making visual decisions.” Read more here

 

Marie Neurath and the Isotype books.

Read also Austin Kleons blog post on The Simplest Expression of an Object.

icon poet

August 11, 2012

Icon Poet – Alle Geschichten dieser Welt | Slanted – Typo Weblog und Magazin.

36 cubes to use for storytelling or as creative writing prompt. Unfortunately they are not cheap. There are similar smaller sets available from Amazon, such as three different sets of Rory’s Story Cubes with nine cubes each.

isotype man loves the smell of napalm in the morning

August 11, 2012

Isotype Man loves the smell of napalm in the morning .

I love this use of Isotype to tell fiction. There are lots more on Timothy Donaldson’s Flickr site.

kids against clip art

August 10, 2012

Girl by maureencrosbie

language by maureencrosbie

I was so pleased when I found this collection of NOT CLIP ART illustrations posted by maureencrosbie.

“Aren’t you sick of the overuse of Clip Art? I work in schools and have always thought that children’s illustration would make a better visual contribution to posters, newsletters and council and governmental publications. Help me convert. Add your contributions. And feel free to use these for yourself copyright free . Look up “Kids against Clip Art”.

Yes, I am absolutely sick of clipart, also as it is used in hundreds of worksheets for children, used especially in Germany and Austria, and shared online by many well-meaning teachers. I understand the desire and need to create your own teaching material, but high quality illustrations are important too!

The Flickr group “Kids against Clip Art” features lots of children’s drawings, but unfortunately not many are just simple b/w drawings which can be used for photocopiable teaching resources. I have been thinking about ways of creating better clip art as educational resource for a long time, just waiting for the right time making the ideas into proper project.

baby words

August 10, 2012

A simple and sweet idea: Rainer Hoffelner created a notebook with mostly blank pages to serve as “baby dictionary.” It is meant to be used by parents for tracking the development of their child’s language and recording original and funny expressions. It must be fun to read this book together with the child once she starts getting interested in reading and writing, talking about how much she has already learned. The child could then start noting down words by herself. Published by Langenscheidt, Germany’s most prominent publisher of dictionaries.

teaching visual thinking strategies

August 10, 2012

Home – Visual Thinking Strategies.

“VTS offers a proven method for educators to meet current learning objectives. Our professional development programs provide teaching strategies to increase academic achievement.  In this video, a New York City teacher in her third year using VTS discusses her experience.”

isotype & literacy learning box

August 10, 2012



Sometimes I create teaching materials for primary school children. Usually they are in German, so not very interesting for this blog here. But this picture domino can be understood and used by all people who know the story of Little Red Riding Hood. The domino follows the events in the fairy tale, based on the Grimm version. The idea is, that every child has to narrate the next bit of the story, before they put the next domino piece down. Sometimes essential details have to be filled in such as the wolf devouring grandma and the little girl, but these story elements will rarely be left out anyway. So it is an exercise in sequencing and story telling. But I think it could be fun for grown ups too.

The graphics used are mostly from http://www.thenounproject.com or in the public domain. These images have been designed in the tradition of ISOTYPE and other signs, which are forming an international visual language in their own right. (Think of the signage on airports or the Olympics.) The image of Red Riding Hood is by Emma Pelling and can be found among many other educational resources at http://www.earlylearninghq.org.uk.

I am very much interested in developing Isotype-like icons for children, to be used in the context of literacy, or rather for developing multimodal literacy. I believe that abstracted and well crafted icons can be a stepping stone to alphabetic reading, as the reader has to make inferences. They also could help to communicate very efficiently to children of all languages, for example, in games or websites or other places. Of course this is happening already to some extent – children learn to read emoticons, icons and symbols in contextual menus of games. But I am sure there is more to be achieved.

The pdf is in German. The last page is meant to be a cover for a DVD storage box. I have been thinking a long time about the most practical and efficient way to store and organize learning games in the classroom. I have come to the conclusion that empty DVD covers without the DVD tray are the most simple and elegant solution. They can be stored on a bookshelf, next to books or with other DVDs, so they can be associated with both books and games. This way they can be easily retrieved and put back to where they belong. They are cheap. The boxes shut tightly, so hopefully cards and small game tokens will not be lost too quickly. The instructions can be written on the back cover and as they are protected, they will not be lost or torn. Where appropriate, a booklet or a game plan can be included (often DVD covers have little clips to hold the booklet down). For example, the story of Red Riding Hood could be provided with this game.

I am happy to borrow, steal and promote good teaching ideas and ideas for classroom organization from wherever they come from. However, I claim to be the first to use DVD covers for literacy learning boxes! Here is the printable pdf. You are free to use it. CC: BY-NC-SA

ROTKÄPPCHEN ERZÄHLDOMINO

alphabeasties

August 9, 2012

E is for Elephant

O is for 

Great twist on the animal alphabet book.

story mapping

August 8, 2012

Another illustration of a traditional tale by Warja Lavater.

via gramatologia

type tales

August 7, 2012

In contrast to the previously posted rendition of Little Red Riding hood this one by  Lauren Kaiseris entirely done with stunningly expressive lettering.

little red riding hood

August 6, 2012

Le Petit Chaperon Rouge via Little red riding hood (Warja Lavater, 1965) 

This is a great take on the traditionale tale of Little Red Riding Hood  by Warja Lavater. The story has been mapped out mainly with with simple geometrical shapes, providing a new – bird’s view – perspective.

a glorious enterprise

August 6, 2012

Book spine poetry has been around for a while. What do you call this, a “remix practice”? Is it photography, collage or poetry writing?  It is neither of those in a traditional sense, but a fun combination. It makes you cast a sideways glance on books. I never got around to posting any of it. So here is one.

via Brain Pickings.

summer snowflakes

August 6, 2012

How Do You Cut Your Snowflakes?.

I don’t know why I am posting about these winter themes in the middle of summer. Well, I guess I have had very little time for blogging this year and so there is a backlog. Anyway, this is a lovely idea for a simple project, cutting snowflakes out of junk mail by Michele Pacey.

white out poem

August 6, 2012

Ich male mir den Winter by Lena 9 – Collage

This is such a sweet project from a primary school in Germany. The children used a poem  about winter by Josef Guggenmos as inspiration. A copy of the poem was glued onto a piece of paper and painted over with water colours. The poem was partially covered with opaque white. It gives the impression of snow softly covering the poem. The children only left those words and sentences they liked in particular. This reminds me of Austin Kleon’s blackout poems, these, in contrast are whiteout poems.  You can see the entire series here: “Ich male mir den Winter”


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