So far in this series, we’ve looked at coloring (essentially that’s what they’re doing with highlighters), cutting, and taping. In this part we’re going to move into drawing.
“Drawing the Argument” is one of my favorite class activities when discussing a new reading. Working in groups, students draw the argument of the essay, locating quotations that support their visual interpretation. It’s a great way to open up discussion about the meaning of a reading since it forces students to condense the argument into a form that can be drawn.
I sometimes use this same exercise for peer revision. In some ways it’s more challenging for the peers since there’s less “stuff” to draw but as part of a class with a couple of peer revision exercises it offers authors a completely new view of their writing.
It also occurs to me that in early stages of drafting it might be interesting to invert this exercise, asking students to draw the argument they want to make in a paper and then share that drawing with peers (or maybe a photo collage they prepared before class). Peers would then write out the argument they see. Student authors might get new insights on their own thinking, not only by making the drawing in the first place but also through any suggestions, deviations, or variations offered by their peers.