Mapping out critical moments and turning points

Activity: Drawing Out Critical Moments w/ Moment Maps

One activity we have used to help people think about the story they want to share digitally involves an activity we call “moment mapping.”

During the moment mapping process, participants are asked to think about critical moments in their lives, and then to “map out” or creatively represent those moments on paper. Afterwards, everyone presents to the group their map and tells the story of their moments.

We find that this activity is helpful because it gives people a chance to think not only critically about a particular story, but orally, as they think of how they will tell the story, and visually, setting them up to think about how they will aesthetically represent their story in digital form.

Moment Map Tools:

  • sketch pad paper
  • art supplies (pencils, pens, crayons, markers, paints and brushes, construction paper, glue, wire, scissors, magazines [for cutting out images], pipe cleaners, etc.)
  • tape (to hang maps on the wall)

As a way to get people thinking about possible story ideas, we use this exercise to focus in on time periods in their life that became defining moments for them. Usually, the events, people involved, or eventual outcomes from these moments end up being part of a larger story that can be developed and turned into a digital story.

This activity starts off in a group setting, where participants are asked: “What have been critical moments in your life?” Follow up questions to emphasize the critical moment aspect of this exercise can include “What moments in your life helped to define who you are?” or “Which moments in your life do you think have been important in forming who you are?”

Participants are given a few minutes to think and reflect about these moments quietly. It is important to emphasize that this question is open for interpretation in any number of ways, since everybody has unique experiences, and that they have the freedom to think about and answer the question however they see fit.

After the quiet reflection time, each participant is presented with their own piece of sketch pad paper which they will use to create their moment map.

Using the art supply materials, the participants are given 20-30 minutes of time alone to artistically represent those moments in whichever way they see fit. Again, openness and creativity are stressed in this process – they can draw, paste images, or use clay and pipe cleaners to give texture to the story of their critical moments.

Once the creative process is complete, participants are asked to tape their moment maps onto the wall of a large room as a way to create a gallery of maps.

When everyone has completed their map, and all the pieces have been placed on the wall, the group travels from piece to piece to listen to each person tell the story of their critical moments. As members of the group listen to each story, they are encouraged to ask questions of the presenter as a way to draw out and develop the story.

Source: Digital writing 101


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