This week I experimented with organization principles. I chose to create a guide for figuring out the theme of a story and writing it as a statement.
Assumptions: The seventh grade students who will use this tool tend to choose one word topic to describe the theme of a story. When asked to state a lesson or universal truth proposed by the author, the students have difficulty articulating an actual theme.
Solution: This tool gives students a method for discovering the theme of a story. This tool is a just-in-time tool that students would use while completing a writing assignment or test about a literary work. In creating this tool, I followed several organizational principles. First, I chunked the information in sequential order. To make the process easier, I included visual cues for how the users should work through the process. The boxes are in ascending color value and I numbered them which adds both a numerical and further color hierarchy (Yellow leads to orange which leads to red). This should make the information easier to understand (Lohr, 2008, p. 124). In order to focus on the information, I left off distracting lines (Lohr, 2008, p.140). Finally, I included color in the main text to help the information stand out.
User Test: I will be testing this tool with my students and making changes based on their feedback and my observations of what is and is not working for them. I anticipate maybe needing to add a black line around the white section of the visual.
Sources: Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.