Short but Sweet
Grade 10 students are very familiar with the writing process as English teachers introduce the concept to students in elementary and junior high school. However, teachers often revisit this process in high school too. It’s always good to remind students what needs to be done when. Yet, the very nature of ELA10-2 students means that you need to keep things short and sweet. Therefore, chunking is essential!
When I developed this chart I wanted to make sure they knew what each step is about (process and descriptor) and what needs to be done during that particular step, and nothing more. I hope that has been achieved that here. I almost placed the title descriptor in its own column, but I like that the student can scan that second column (process steps) and instantly know what each step is about.
Chapter 6 Tips
Organization is always important, and this chapter provided excellent tips on how to organize important content. One of my favorite rules is the 7 plus or minus 2 chunking rule (p. 125). This rule suggests that you organize content using a certain number of information chunks at one time. This rule recommends using 5 to 9 chunks of information at a time. The writing process, because it has 5 steps, supports this rule very well. I did add two points per step (last column)–hopefully that doesn’t break the “7 plus or minus 2” rule in this instance!
Hierarchy is also important as it helps teachers and designers organize information more readily. The writing process has 5 steps that most writers follow in order. So the mechanical alarm clock number tiles were used to indicate “order”. Each step is assigned a number which indicates the order in which it occurs. Hierarchy usually indicates order of importance but I think it also works well with the steps followed during a particular process (p. 133).
Horizontal alignment is implemented here to aid students who usually read left to right. I also liked the idea that what is placed on the left indicates “what comes before”, while what is placed on the right indicates “what comes after” (p 128). Hence the process and descriptor column is placed on the left hand side and what is done in this step is placed on the right.
Adding visual cues seemed difficult with this particular layout. I think I got the job done though. Cues direct the viewers’ eyes to important “chunks of information” (p. 123). Lines and arrows are usually used. Hopefully the white rounded rectangles placed in order by each number mimic the idea of “lines”. More importantly, I really needed bullets to direct students’ attention to the important points in the chart as well (what needs to be done during each step column). Arrows were too big so I used red dots. Hopefully dots can act as cues as well!
According to my user-test this graphic didn’t need a lot of changing. The user did recommend that I change the “Google” blue background to a brighter “greener” colour so the graphic popped more and appealed to ELA10-2 students. The user also suggested that the red dots (cues) be made smaller as they were taking up too much space. I guess those larger dots seemed like chartjunk to him (p. 138). The user really liked the mechanical alarm clock images and thought ELA10-2 students, who have an affinity for “retro” items, would appreciate them.
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Education, Inc.
Mechanical Alarm Clock Numbers: https://openclipart.org/search/?query=numbers