Memory Maps
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Memory Maps
Beyond the Banks

St. Catherine of Siena Elementary School Memory Maps

Last Friday, our group of four visited St. Catherine of Siena Elementary School located on Central Avenue in South Phoenix.  While there, the principal of the school allowed us to conduct a workshop making memory maps with a group of nine students of varying ages on Memory Maps.  A memory map is a drawing of a neighborhood or other area important in a person’s life.  These maps can include the house of the person drawing the map, and the locations of houses and landmarks in relation to this.  Also included in these maps, are important events and where they occurred. 

Some of the events that our students mentioned were where a first kiss was received, an important argument, and where they “hang with” their friends to name a few.  In addition to the map, the students were then asked to write a short paragraph explaining their map so that others might understand it better. 

We were able to work with our group of students for an hour, and in that time, they got a lot accomplished.  They all made wonderful maps, especially Jennifer, an 11 year old girl in our group.  Jennifer’s map was so detailed it feels like you could step right into the map and visit the places mentioned.  A ten year old boy (he’ll be 11 in March) named Xanthe drew a less detailed map, but showed us where he and his friends go to play.  All of the students did a wonderful job, even Joseph, who although he chose not to have his map on the internet, did a nice job, after much prodding, of drawing up his neighborhood in relation to the YMCA where he goes to play basketball.

Beyond learning how these students spend their time, and what is important to them on a large scale, they also taught us a few other important things. 

First, a 12 year old girl named Teresa, kept us entertained the entire hour with stories and pertinent information.  I do believe she is destined to become a writer.

Second, several of the students, led by Teresa, were able to teach Debbie, one of our group, the proper way to walk, talk and describe a car where they live.  Although Debbie was unable to drop the contractions properly in order to truly sound like a native, she did a wonderful job of saying “Waz up?”  And her walk was almost perfected by the time we left.  I would like to thank Teresa, Amiee, and Alyssa for their assistance in this; I don’t think I’ve enjoyed an hour more in a very long time.

St. Catherine’s of Siena appears to be a wonderful school, despite the student’s claims that it needs buses, and the somewhat low test scores recorded.  If the group of students that we had is any indication, this school is turning out some very creative, talented and intelligent people into our world.  Maybe someday Dr. K will have them in her Learning from South Phoenix class, and they’ll go back to St. Catherine’s and do memory maps with the next generation of students.

LInk to Memory Maps

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