In class, the students remain expectant when I enter and give each a set of photocopies with the mixed up images of Migrar. They had all expected a chronicle, since it was one of the topics to review that bimester. However, when they receive the images, the first thing I do is ask them what type of text they think could be produced from these visual elements. As their first ideas emerge, they answer that these “drawings”, because of their “design”, are similar to the Aztec or maybe Mayan images. Then, someone at the back, indicates that it’s a kind of codex and explains to us what that is, pointing out that it´s an ancient kind of text through which various events were narrated.
At that moment, I confirm the information about the codices and lead the students to focus their attention on the fact that this is a narrative, reminding them that this type of discourse is composed of sequences which, as we had identified while sharing some chronicles, possess a chronological order. Thus I ask the students to try to order the series of images they have received. The exercise of assembling the codex demands, on one hand, the observation of the readers and, on the other, a preliminary analysis of the images, because in order to find the correct order, they have to define a beginning, a first clue that will be modified in the subsequent images; a clue which, for most of them, was defined as the sun on the upper part of one of the squares.
Soon, having assembled the codex, the students ask me to check their work. They ask me if they’re right and I ask them about their choices: “What lead you to order it in that way?” The students explain and, almost naturally, begin to narrate facts, describe things, situate character and talk about the different scenarios that allowed them to work out the chronological evolution and several possible stories. I ask them to share their work and we paste the sheets on the board or the walls and compare them; we compare the different readings of the images, the different narratives that have emerged. Most match. Some go back to the board and change their previous order, asking their classmates why some image goes before or after another.
Just before finishing the day’s session, I ask the students to give a name to the story told by the codex, in order to justify their answer. Some of the following titles are offered: “Migrating”, “Emigration”, “The Migration”, “Migrants”, “The Road to the American Dream”. Once again the students explain their choice, which corresponds with the process of assembling the codex. I ask them, finally, to write down the story they’ve imagined, following the models of the chronicle we have covered in class, to share it the next day, in which I have promised to show them the original order and read them the story that goes with the images with which they’ve worked.