One of our favourite ThinkLink collaborations last year was working with the Kingsway College school teaching visual note taking to children. We ran a sketchnote camp and the teachers and students at KCS brought us in to be ‘artists in residence’ and help the kids with basic drawing skills and visual mapping. What started as a small project teaching grade 7 and 8 turned into a full offering teaching pre-kindergarten up to grade 8’s. We also had several opportunities to do some graphic recording in assemblies and classes so the kids could see us in action!
As we started to teach the kids, we jumped right into basics. We started with shapes, containers, connectors and simple people. Another lesson in facial expressions, motion and perspective helped them to really start drawing with richness and depth. From there we taught some principles of mind mapping and then we brought it all together to show how combining these things could help create visual maps of information when listening in class. We had the kids practice these skills while watching videos and listening to stories we read aloud. The outcomes were amazing, they all participated and the drawings were really incredible.
What really struck us about this project was how eager the kids were to learn they could use visuals to help them remember information. The smaller kids were so excited to see how simple shapes could transform into actual drawings with a few tips and tricks. By the end of the second class we held with them, they were all able to draw a series of icons and people. We found that the grade 4’s and higher were applying the skills we taught them in their classes, some teachers even sent us snaps of the visuals the student were creating from their smartphones.
As artists in residence, we also had a great time helping some of the kids put together projects for an art show they held in the Spring. The theme of the exhibit was ‘Dreams’ and the kids used various mediums to tell their stories. Some of the kids even used fast draw animation somewhat inspired by our whiteboard videos. Truly the works they created were inspiring, from claymation to sculpture.
All in all, the KCS experience was fantastic for our team. All 3 of us participated actively in the program and had an opportunity to be with the kids on a regular basis. The staff were so supportive and welcoming, some of them even gave up their classrooms and shuffled their very busy schedules just to help us out.
We are currently looking into combining all the learnings and information from the experience into a shorter course offering for kids that we can run as a day camp. The impact of what we did was truly apparent after the first week! It was such a rewarding experience!