Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Scrap Craft Graphic Organizer for Visual, Kinesthetic Learners

Do you know what sort of learner you are? Knowing how you learn is the best way to retain knowledge and work more efficiently, even if you're no longer a student. Here’s a short test with instant results (and a colorful pie chart)!

I am equal parts visual and kinesthetic which explains why I have to motivate myself with a craft project to start a writing project.

Sad Old Tree Limb
This tree limb was hanging too low over the driveway, so my husband chopped it off. As it lay in the yard last August, leaves wilting, I decided it was too pretty to become yard waste. If Crate & Barrel can charge $80 for bamboo branches, I’ll be content to do a little labor to decorate my office. Plus, I’m pretty sure my branch’s carbon footprint is lower.

Of course I didn’t want the leaves wilting on my desk, so I pulled them off and trimmed the branches a bit. I put two large screws into the studs and wired the branch to the screws.

At that time I was thinking about an outline for a novel. This tree branch, combined with the traditional Aristotelian dramatic arc might lend itself to the type of story I’ve been thinking of.

Out come the craft supplies:

Punched-out Tags & Ultra-fine Point Sharpies
Twine & Clothes Pins

The twiggy parts of the right end of the limb represent different characters as their story lines are introduced. As the twigs intersect on the limb, so do the characters’ lives.

Tree Limb in Action
It’s okay if the story movement doesn’t mimic the tree limb exactly. I never want to be formulaic. The best part about a pre-writing exercise is purging ideas onto paper before they slip away. 

This exercise gets my body out of my desk chair and ideas out of my head. Of course, these ideas will be reordered, deleted, and supplemented throughout the writing process. A visual learner like me can find security in this colorful visual outline to consult rather than scrolling through pages of a traditional outline or, worse yet, relying on my slippery memory.

Discover how you learn and never stop. 


  1. What a wonderful idea. I'm not sure if it would help me learn... but it looks like a beautiful way to display all of the scraps w/ scribbled notes I have lying around my desk. You are so creative!

  2. Little Katie, all grown up... sounding ever so much like a professor! You are adorable and this is fantastic.