Idea Clouds

Reading can be boring at times, even confusing. In my experience, these moments of boredom and incomprehension come when I’m reading something assigned- in other words, something I need to understand.

So what’s one to do in this situation? Most take the unproductive route and doodle- it’s human nature. But I’ve found a better way to cope: idea clouds!

Making an idea cloud feels like doodling, but the result reads like a note. An idea cloud is a grouping of words referring to the main points of an argument; the more repeated the idea, the bolder it is written in the idea cloud. These are great for reading assignments because they help a reader organize ideas, either in a paragraph, on a page, in a chapter or the whole book. They’re great for boring reading assignments because they give the reader something to do with their hands.

How can idea clouds function in the tutoring process? I’ve learned that they are a useful way to organize ideas at any stage in the writing process. When tutoring someone early in the brainstorming process, with a lot of ideas and little direction, they can visually represent the prominence of these ideas in relation to each other. Say someone is rambling through various points. The tutor can start writing down ideas that the tutee keeps returning to- the result organizes the tutee’s ideas for them!

When reading a completed draft, creating an idea cloud can demonstrate to the writer what their tutor gleamed from their piece. If the tutor and writer don’t interpret the piece in the same way, the idea cloud can indicate to the writer what needs to be revised.

In reading and writing, idea clouds translate jumbled thoughts onto paper.

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