With all the "sky is falling" cries about American students reading less, I often wonder why we don't track how much reading and writing students do daily on social media. Bring social media into your lessons is crucial to helping students develop critical thinking about the media many of them consume and create in large amounts every day.
In this article from Edutopia, Dave Guymon suggests that pairing visual or non-linguistic ideas with text-based ones can help students recall or interpret information.
Some examples that we've used in the library, or in collaborative lessons:
~ In a poetry unit with 7th graders, each group had to choose one Creative Commons licensed image for each of 7 poems they read. The images were uploaded to a Google document, and students commented on why they thought their images best represented a theme in the poem.
~ I switched out my list of helpful links on the library homepage to a Symbaloo. I found it very busy, but my aide who is dyslexic said it was so much easier for him to read. It's certainly more visually engaging!
~ I used images found in Haiku Deck to create a wordless presentation on digital citizenship. I found that a month later when I asked classes, students could recall what each image represented, i.e., the padlock for strong passwords, the bar of soap for keeping it clean online.
~ Use memes in your library! I've included a few images here, but be creative. Instead of a "No Food or Drink" sign at the door, how about using Mr. T, or the Grumpy Cat to get your message across with humor? Trust me, the students who blow right past those signs with a bit of Microsoft Office clip art will take the time to read what Mr. T. has to say!
What are some other ways you can get students thinking about visual literacy?