Tuning In: Unit 2 – Images Communicate Meaning

Tuning In: As a provocation to introduce this unit, we surprised the class by putting up a barricade across the door to the classroom with warning cones and caution tape. Various signs were displayed at the entrance. Children were fascinated to discover this surprise yet not sure if they should enter. Everyone finally crawled in under the caution tape and met on the mat for circle time. We were full of questions and wonderings.

Firstly, we identified the problem everyone had when we came to school this morning:

“There was an alligator sign” (Arth)
“Stop sign” (Poh)
“I had to climb under the tape to go inside” (Summer)
“I had to go way under” (Pun)
“The door had a crocodile picture” (Alice, Vincent, Tara)
“Yellow lines” (Berci)
“No go lines” (Joon)
“People could not walk in” (pointing at the sign with a crossed out person) (Robyn)
“There were cones blocking my way” (Win)
“Big cones and small cones at the entrance” (Robyn)
“We can bump on glass” (Pokpong, pointing at the glass sign)
“I was confused” (Kajorn)

We came to the conclusion that our problem this morning was that we saw signs, lines and cones stopping us from entering the classroom.

We then asked the children 5 “why” questions to elicit  their responses to the problem and record their understanding of the experience.

Why did we have this problem at the entrance?

“Ms. Zana and Ms. Ping put it” (Summer)
“To warn me about the crocodile when I came in. I was not scared of the crocodile.” (Vincent)
“Do we have a crocodile in class?” (Alice)
“No, no crocodile!” (Ryu)

Why did Ms. Zana and Ms. Ping put all these signs up?

“Because they didn’t want me to come in” (Nathur)
“They wanted me to be careful” (Arth)
“They saw a crocodile in class and put up a sign for us and closed the doors”(Chaosub)
“They were warning me” (Poh)

Why did they warn you?

“Because we could get hurt” (Win)
“Because they didn’t want us to get hurt” (Pokpong)
“Why did you put those sings there?” (Robyn)

Why did you think it was dangerous to come in? We didn’t tell you anything.

“The sign said: STOP!” (Poh)
“There was a crocodile picture” (Chaosub, Vincent, Ryu)
“Cones were everywhere” (Win)
“No-go lines were blocking my way. I crawled inside.” (Joon)
“The person was crossed out on the picture. No-one can come in.” (Robyn)
“Ms. Ping got stuck under the line. The line got glued to her.” (Pun)

It did not require all 5 whys to figure out that the signs were speaking to us. All we had to do was read them. And the children did so wonderfully! This is how our adventure with exploring images begun.

What is Visual Literacy?

“The ability to decode, interpret, create, question, challenge and evaluate texts that communicate with visual images as well as, or rather than, words. Visually literate people can read the intended meaning in a visual text, interpret the purpose and intended meaning, and evaluate the form, structure and features of the text.”

Students need visual images to help the read and understand texts. Visual information can support reading and help make meaning of text.

Important of Visual Literacy:

1. Children live in a very visual world
2. Builds on children’s experiences
3. Excellent for visual and kinaesthetic learners
4. Supports ELL children in understanding
5. Very effective for developing writing
6. Deepens children’s understanding of text

We live in a world where visual images are becoming increasingly important as most information is presented as a combination of words and images. It is essential that students not only have the capacity to derive literal meaning from texts but also to develop an understanding of how the texts are produced.

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