Cognitive Mapping with the Kids
Group Members: Luisa, Lillian
Project: Memory Maps with Mrs. Robinson's 6th Grade Class at Valley View Elementary
What is a Memory Map?
Do you ever think back to when you had the most fun in your life? You know when you were a kid and someone else was in charge of all the "priorities"? Memory Maps are a drawn outline of all the fun times you had back on the "old block". Remember back to when your best friend broke their arm and you had to save the day, or where you had your very first kiss. Memory Maps also identify places that meant most to you and the places that left a lasting impression on your life.
How does Valley View Elementary
We went to visit Mrs. Robinson's class in an effort to see how 6th Graders viewed the surroundings of their neighborhoods. With new development the children's neighborhoods are changing at a rapid pace. As a result, in the next ten years many of their favorite "hangouts" will be only memories.
Click on any of the above photos to view Mrs. Robinson's class, to the far right is myself and Hugo the Genius.
Heads-Up, 7-Up and Grade School
written by James Velasquez
Remember back in the day when your elementary teacher
raised her arm high to get the students' attention, and then the
pet raised their arm, followed by their best friend and so on?
Yeah, that meant BE QUIET!
That was one thing that I hated back in grade school.
Luckily I was able to relive the experience when I
Contreras, and Luisa Martinez on a visit to Mrs. Robinson’s 6th
Grade class at Valley View Elementary.
As we walked to the classroom, I could hear many voices quieting and
the many voices there was only one student talking and then as we
classroom was silent. I saw the raised hands demanding silence,
as if to say, “quiet,
we have visitors”. Despite my Twilight
Zone relapse into yesteryear, our goal was clear, the students would
a cognitive map of their neighborhood and its surroundings.
students’ “Memory Map” would be an individually different drawing of
their home, elementary school, favorite hang-outs after school or the
places to “kick it” on the weekends.
In order to give the students an idea of what we were looking for Mrs.
asked Vanessa, a very smart girl in her class, to go to the copy
in the Teachers’ Lounge and make 25 copies of my very own Memory Map as
example. I never, ever had an opportunity to go to the Teachers’ Lounge
my old school so I figured this was my chance.
I always dreamed their was free pizza, rivers of fruit
big screen TV’s. Let’s just say my trip to
Neverland was a bit of a disappointment.
As Luisa began to hand out the copies of my example, I
noticed giggles here and
there. It turns out that I was becoming
the target of jokes. Both the boys
and girls were making fun of the fact that I drew a picture of the
that my first girlfriend lived in and they said I was a geek because I
them the about my days of chasing rascally wabbits in an empty
the street from my house after school each day.
Hey, it was the sixth grade and suddenly I was becoming
about myself. That is natural in
the 6th Grade, right?
after Lillian’s directions were understood the class began their
To our surprise Mrs. Robinson took out a pencil and
began to map
here memories. It turns out that
Mrs. Robinson grew up in a South Phoenix neighborhood down the street
Valley View Elementary, which is so cool!
Meanwhile Lillian and Luisa were running around like
their heads cut off trying to answer each question.
Just like I remembered back in my day, the boys were
all the questions, while the girls remained quiet and still in their
The girls did not yell across the room like the boys, the girls
politely raised their hands when they had questions.
getting over being made fun of, I began to speak with the class
genius, Hugo. He was interested in
why we were visiting his class and what it was like going to college.
Next thing I know I have five students hanging on my
I WAS A GOD! No matter what they
may have learned from me, I was the person getting the education.
To my surprise a boy named Jonathan told me that I
should not become
a teacher because, “Mrs. Robinson works way too hard.”
Luisa told me another story about one students’ sister
who did not
accept her scholarship to ASU out of high school because she became
and would not have the time for education.
The stories were like a slap in the face.
These were kids. They
be worried about getting home in time for Sponge Bob-Square Pants.
Lillian was worried that the students were growing up
too fast and
showed me one students’ completed map that had “Drug dealers house with
dog” clearly outlined. It was evident
that these students were socially on a level of awareness about their
that I had no comprehension of when I was at the same age.
At that moment I had only hoped that they would not be
being chased down by social inequalities.
the time went by quick and within a few minutes the students
would be attending their first school dance.
We were invited to stop by so we did.
Lillian and Luisa danced with the girls for a while and
with some of the boys standing against the wall looking real cool.
As we walked away from the schoolyard our focus remained
real life stories of each student we spoke with.
Our goal was to find out what kids enjoyed doing after
I wanted to compare their memories to my own.
What we found was reality.
that day I was thinking about when I came home after school as a kid
rabbits in the empty field across the street from my house.
Then I thought back to the students.
They were strong. They did
not see themselves being chased like rabbits from social inequalities.
This was everyday life, it was as if they were immune
from the visions
that I could see. These students were
more mature than we could ever have imagined.
We started out to find if Mrs. Robinson’s students would
that many of their favorite hangouts would become only memories as new
are changing the face of their community.
What we found was that these students are ready for
change as they
wait for the next shopping center to be built and without question,
students will met their futures head on, willingly and confident in
The following are Memory Maps from Mrs. Robinson's 6th
Grade Class, just point and click:
sorry for broken links below! In the
mean time, try these
Cindy R. Doreen Fuentes Juan Rodriguez Jonathan