Twelfth grade English and Digital Arts students at High Tech High in San Diego, California created this book in the Fall of 2011 as part of a study on becoming more aware of their own surroundings in order to foster an educated, ethical, and empathetic community.
Students worked in pairs to research, interview, and investigate the city in a number of unique ways. By compiling and their work and creating collective and idiosyncratic maps of San Diego, they were able to challenge their own thinking and ideas about their environment and accept new knowledge from each other. They used Rebecca Solnit’s Infinite City as a model and created a series of maps of San Diego that present unique views to evoke different thoughts and questions. Each entry has its own corresponding map.
As a result of this project, students became more invested in their communities. They exhibited their digital maps in multiple venues and invited their communities to participate in this project of making San Diego into a complex city. Students participated in several rounds of peer critique and writers’ workshops to ensure that the maps and essays presented their message cohesively. The final product is a 64-page hard-covered book with colorful illustrations.
How This Project Can Be Useful
- Excellent example of using maps to consider both historical and current local issues
- The product is nicely formatted, with an attractive layout of text and graphics
- Exemplifies exciting and engaging fieldwork
- Maps are very detailed, demonstrating the power of multiple drafts
- Highlights a type of project that is replicable in any city or town
Common Core State Standards
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