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Using thinking maps in art

This year I have been using thinking maps as introductory exercises to our projects in addition to thumbnail sketches. Having students create these before sketching shows me a deeper understanding of concepts in addition to sketches.

I limit thumbnail sketches to 5-10 minutes each (at least 3 sketches) so students focus on getting ideas down on paper, not fine-tuning the details. With that said, I still find students are hesitant to put ideas on paper for fear of failing or drawing poorly. Beyond that, encouraging students to create well-developed thumbnails can be a challenge sometimes. With the introduction of thinking maps, I’ve found that:

  1. Students spend more time formulating and exploring ideas.
  2. Having numerous ideas written down creates the opportunity to mix n’ match ideas, resulting in more, well-developed thumbnails.
  3. Students look forward to beginning sketches when they are required to write first.

 

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My example for the 6th grade Postcard Design. Frame of reference emphasized in red for students.

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This was a well-done map. This student referenced their recent Geography poster project on Madrid.

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Students were deep into the work portion of their postcard designs just as the November 13 Paris attacks happened, so designing for context became a learning opportunity.

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Flow map for 1st Grade Keith Haring project. Building our action drawings from the inside out (meat/muscles around bone).

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Double-Bubble map for comparing/contrasting pottery and sculpture. Done as a class, this was an immediate buy-in for 3rd graders.

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6th Grade postcard design tree map for New York.

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6th Grade postcard design tree map for Seattle.