**See the update at the end of this post.**
This week we were supposed to use the design process to create a graphic that summarizes our unit or introduces a new portion of the unit. Here is the graphic I created:
Users and Assumptions: The students who will be using this graphic are in 7th grade ELA classes. Half of them read far below grade level and most do not like to read. Based on past class discussions, 7th grade students often confuse theme, topic, and main idea. Most students, when asked the theme or main idea, will state a topic.
Solution Justification: I began my design of this graphic by analyzing the purpose of my visual (Lohr, 2008, p. 75). Since I want my students to understand the differences between theme and subject/topic main idea, I decided that I needed to juxtapose the information in the same image. I considered how I would organize my information, and how to make it easy to understand. As I created the image, I realized that color coding the terms would help, so I assigned each a color. I also decided to number and align corresponding information in the chart. This should allow users to quickly and easily compare theme, main idea, and subject.
User Test: Based on adult user feedback, I have changed the letter-bullets in front of the examples to black. They were colored to match their sections, but this seemed to detract from the point of color coding.
I will be conducting a user test with my students later this week and will update this section once they have given me feedback. I anticipate that they will want some sort of visual representation of topic. I am not sure what I could include if this is the case. It is also possible that I will receive feedback informing me that the clipart should be nearer to the “notes” rather than the examples.
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Update 2/25/2016: I received a lot of positive feedback about the composition of this image. Several friends who are current, or former, English teachers expressed appreciation for this visual after I shared it on Facebook. However, when I tried to project it for my students, they couldn’t read it as originally created because it was too pixelated. One of my friends mentioned this also. So, I have fixed it. The image you see above is the new version. Here is what has changed: I tripled the resolution on the image. It now prints nicely in landscape as an 8.5-inch x 11-inch image. It should also project without pixelating.