“Four Icon Challenge” & Feedback

Two posts will be published today. They represent two different “storytelling” activities that can be used to engage your K-12 students. This first activity is known by DS106 students, as the “Four Icon Challenge” or the “One Story – Four Icons” assignment. My following post will describe how “Bumper Sticker” creation can engage your students in an unique way. Recently I shared a presentation entitled “‘DS106’ – The ABC’s of Digital Storytelling” at a ManACE Technology Information Night (TIN). During my preparation for this TIN presentation, I confirmed that these two engaging activities have a definite role to play within our K-12 classes.

The Four Icon Challenge
This activity can be used successfully within any subject in most K – 12 grade levels. DS106 students were required to synthesize a movie or book down to four basic ideas that can be represented by icons. In order that you better understand the process, I will challenge you to name the following books or movies:









Readers may check their answers by scrolling to the bottom of this post.

The compilation of four images are represented in different layouts or designs. Although most entries used a horizontal arrangement of four icons, the second entry (B) used a square design and the colour as a hint. In the last entry (E), I inserted appropriate images into a four cell table in Word. Next, I took a “screen shot” and saved the four icon challenge compilation as an image. The first entry (A) used the web application “Chogger” which allows students to create a “comic strip” of four icons without the need to login. One can simply visit http://chogger.com and select either of the green “Build” or “Make a Comic” buttons. For this activity, one selects a layout panel with four components and begins by either drawing or using Google to search for appropriate images to insert into each of the panel frames.

Teachers, who may wish to display student’s “Four Icon Challenge” creations on the web, should advise students to save the images without giving away the answer through the image filename. For example, if one hovers the cursor over the first example (A), the answer is immediately obvious. Challenge (B) used a filename which is easy to “crack” and the last entry (E) used scrambled words to create the filename. However, examples (D) and (E) display only a generic filename which does not provide any clues to the movie or book.

Teachable Moment
This technique of distilling a book or movie down to four main ideas could also be used to to depict a historical event. Imagine what four key ideas, with appropriate icons, could be used to represent Canada’s Confederation, the development of the atomic bomb, or the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Encourage your students to create a “Four Icon Challenge” to showcase important aspects of the subject area that you teach.

For those readers who are skeptical that this activity can be used effectively with younger children, I recommend that you investigate Tyler Hart’s Grade 3 classroom. In an earlier highlighted “Teachable Moment” blog post entitled “Puzzle: What book, movie or historical event“, I demonstrated how this creative teacher and his students in Richmond Virginia became engaged in this “One Story – Four Icon Challenge”.

As the end of the school year fast approaches, I suggest that this challenge might provide an interesting way for teachers to gain feedback about their course. Why not ask students to create four panel stories that depict the activities or activities that they enjoyed most?

I find that in many puzzle books or in the trivia questions in the local “Coffee News“, readers often look at the question and, rather than take time to adequately think about the problem, they quickly flip the page to find the answers that are written upside down or are printed on the reverse side of the paper. To help encourage you and your students to take adequate time to puzzle over the above “Four Icon Challenges”, I am “scrambling” my solutions somewhat. After you have tried to solve all the above five books or movies, you may unscramble my solutions section (shown below) by:

  1. holding this computer display up to a mirror; or
  2. printing this post and reading the black-framed solutions in a mirror.

Take care & keep smiling 🙂

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One Response to “Four Icon Challenge” & Feedback

  1. Pingback: Recap Week 1/3 in Asia: Japan (part a!) - CogDogBlog

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