Up Next in ENGL 150

CATEGORIES: Foundation Courses

To help students practice listening and explaining skills relating to multimodal design, try this quick activity that CWE MFA candidate Fred Johnson has used with his students. This activity will help students become more familiar with the identification and description of design elements, such as contrast, color, space, texture, etc. Pair students and tell one of each pair to find a photograph, painting, drawing, or digital painting online. Stress that they’re not to show their image to their partner. The student must then describe the image as best they can, and their partner must attempt to sketch it based purely on the first student’s description. When the sketch is complete, the original image is shown and compared to the student’s drawing. They look at what the sketcher got right and what they got wrong, and the describer gets the chance to reflect on how they could have improved their description (informed, of course, by the drawer’s own attempt!). Then, students swap roles, and the process is repeated. Fred has found it helpful to then repeat the whole process – in other words, have each student describe and draw twice – so that each student gets to put into action what they learned the first time around. To add a bit of unpredictability and amusement to this activity, Fred only shares part of the instructions at first. “I got the students to find images before I told them why they were finding images. This resulted in some funny situations where students would select and then have to describe incredibly baroque or abstract images.”