Chapter 4: Page 30

Faculty Spotlight: Professor Robert Kohls of the English Department at SFSU

Robert Kohls is an Assistant Professor of English/TESOL. He teaches graduate courses in second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and writing theory and practice. His research interests include sociocultural perspectives on second language (L2) writing and writing teacher education. He is currently co-editor of the CATESOL Journal and co-book review editor for the Journal of Second Language Writing

What do you see below? What patterns and symbols give you clues into what this is?

Visual notetaking can be a creative method to use when listening to a lecture, annotating a reading with symbols and arrows, and/or brainstorming for a writing prompt, all depending on your learning and engagement style.

Robert Kohls’ drawing activity below builds on this premise, as well as the multimodal themes of this book: that visuals can help readers break down a text, and by drawing various elements as they relate to each other writers can re-create the text in a summary or paraphrase in creative ways, and truly in their own words.

Example from sample text: The Economist 2001

STEP 1: Introduce visual intertextuality in news media and other online sources. Students read aloud with your class a chosen short text (for example, the above paragraph from The Economist.)

Step 2: Break down the elements: adjective, subject; verbs; places; people. Students get to draw each of the major elements as they relate to each other, and get creative.

Step 3: In partners, or small groups, take turns describing each other’s drawings. Then practice writing down your favorite paraphrases, and share with the class.

Step 4: Practice using this technique when chunking and close reading, breaking down difficult texts in any of your classes, or even trying a new way of annotating or other comprehending any new knowledge.

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