Monday, February 14, 2011

Jewel Gathering

This is the eighth post in the Digging for Treasure series. The others are at the bottom of this post. Whoo-hoo!

You’ve dug up some treasure, and you’ve sorted it out. You have some buckets—some categories to contain your stories, details, and information.

  • Specific issues for solo female travelers in different countries.
  • The elements of design.
  • Emotional blocks to creativity and how to address them.
  • Curriculum areas for homeschooling.
  • Important things to keep in mind while planning a garden, like crop rotation, climate, and pest control.
  • The steps in the process of building a bureau.

Congratulations! You’re getting much closer to a real presentation of your topic. Now that you have a rough structure, your next job is to fill it in with all of the things your learners will need. These are your jewels, the objects of a second digging process.

What do learners need?
  • Learners need stories. I told you I was going to harp on this! In each category, you should have some little narratives. Real-life examples of the points you want to make. Memories. The time you didn’t leave enough room for the winter squash and it took over the whole garden. The great homeschooling project you did about the labor movement and the unexpected way your child reacted to it.
  • Learners need specific information about concepts or skills. Don’t just tell them to think about how color will complement their composition. Give them questions to ask themselves about how color fits in their design, or a system for trying different colors. 
  • Learners need demonstrations or physical/visual examples. You can explain the concept of negative space in a whole lecture, or you can show a white image with the negative space around it colored red. If you’re teaching live or on video, you can gather your participants around and demonstrate the best way to shape your dovetail joints.
  • Learners need ways to actively engage. We’ll talk about this more in the section on Activity Planning, but start thinking now about ways to make your presentation active. Have homeschooling parents design a curriculum project together. Ask readers of a book on creativity to write about a time when their creativity was flowing freely.
  • Learners need things named. A name is a hook, a way to remember your concept. It also helps people to think more clearly about the thing named. The names I gave types of topics in a text have enabled people to talk about indexing in completely new ways, and have become my contribution to the indexing field. Names can be playful (as in the sections of my Digging for Treasure program) or serious, depending on your audience.
  • Learners need to know why they’re doing something. Cover your head when entering a Catholic church--because even if you’re not a believer, following the custom is a sign of respect. Place a photo of a person facing into the center of the page—because the otherwise the viewer’s eyes will follow the photo gaze right off the edge.
Gathering the Jewels

So, you’re going back to look for all of these things and make sure all of your buckets are nice and full. Here’s a way to organize yourself so that you find and keep track of what you need.
  • Make a gathering place for each category. This needs to be expandable and organizable. I strongly recommend that you use a computer file (word processor or mindmap), but folders and binders are also possible.
  • Notice where you need more information or details. Make a system for flagging places that still need something. I use square brackets in Word (easily searched) and bright red branch notes in Mindgenius (easily spotted). This will become more important as your structure gets more complete.
  • It might help to make a list of your target jewels. I’m looking for: an early sketch that I ended up discarding. An example of a good math game. Something funny about Italy.
  • Go back to thinking, observing, remembering about your subject. You’ll be looking more actively for specific things than the first time around.
  • Think about where to find the details you need. Do you need to start a new project on purpose so that you can observe its early stages? Can you excavate your past by reading old notes or journal entries? Do you want to add ideas from other people?
  • Gather your jewels in any kind of basket that works for you. What worked best during your first digging? Sticky notes? A digital recorder? A little notebook?
  • As you record each detail, label it with a category.
  • Periodically dump your jewels into your gathering place. Put each one in the category where it goes. Watch your structure get fuller and richer!

As you do this second digging, your awareness will expand. Connections, stories, feelings, and ideas will cascade through your mind. Collect them all!

Next step: Map Design! How will you lead your learners through your material?

Previous posts about the Digging for Treasure process:

Digging for Treasure: My First Dig
Digging for Treasure: At School 
Knowing Without Knowing 
The Survey: Discovering Your Deep Knowledge
The First Digging: Observation 
Into the Baskets!  
Sorting Your Treasure

Photo credits: Buckets by i_yudai (Flicker Creative Commons)

Jewelry Box, Before by Dennis and Amiee Jonez (Flicker Creative Commons)


  1. This is such great stuff.

    Have you thought about doing a community project a la #customerlove? I think folks would love to have you walk them through this process in an online group so they have additional support along the way. Wouldn't have to be a free project, either.

  2. Digging for Treasure will soon be available as an individual consulting program and as a group teleclass series. I'll also be developing DIY materials, and some combination of DIY and support might be a good other option to offer. Thanks for thinking about it, Kellie!

    Other readers: what kind of support would you need to do this program yourself?

  3. Glad to have met you, Do Mi!

    I love your list of life-long-learner traits. (especially storytelling and naming.)

    On naming: I wonder why boats are named, and plane flights are not? I'd rather take the United Zebra to Miami than the JT1498.

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  4. Hello, Pan-Americans! Glad you found me! I agree, plane flights should be named.

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