Seeing Red

Have you ever purchased a car and then suddenly saw the model and make of your car everywhere on the road? Those cars were there all along, but suddenly you see them more powerfully than before. There's a fun word to describe the brain's curious filtering ability, to suddenly bring to our attention things or sounds that might resonate strongly with us. It's called "diegogarcity." But more than providing us with an opportunity to examine the popularity of our car choices, we can also put the diegogarcity effect into good use to help apply new knowledge and ideas.

We recently partnered with the Kinamba Community Project in Rwanda to work with their primary school teachers on art activities that could be integrated into their English lessons. These activities, using found photo collage, were designed to reinforce knowledge and understanding of English vocabulary terms related to such areas as parts of the body, articles of clothing, colors, and numbers.

As school resumed in January, one teacher at Kinamba immediately implemented one of the art activities into her lesson on the color red. Students pored through magazines in search of images of objects bearing this distinct color and created their own monochromatic collages. With diegogarcity in full practice, the color red revealed itself to be plentiful.

Attached are a couple photos from this partnership, including the teacher training workshop in December and the classroom art activity this week.