Making Toast- And other Creative Adventures

Creativity is an elusive idea, most commonly it is thought of as something that you have or you don’t.  However, as humans, we all have the innate ability to learn and conceive, remember and imagine.  These qualities all make up a creative mind, it’s simply a matter of perspective.

After watching two incredible Ted Talks on Drawing, I felt that this concept was refreshed for me.  As a gifted teacher, creativity is my middle name, but it sometimes can be placed on the backburner when the confines of the public school system are so strong.

In the first video, Ole is discussing how our minds are able to do all of these wonderful things, like recall and create something that may be in the future.  He suggests that using drawings not only creates a special bond and an easy to remember tool, but also can bring us together as a group, workplace or community.  He suggests doing this to set goals and involve everyone in the process.  Before I go on, I think it’s best that you watch the video for yourself, be sure to have a sharpie and paper ready!

Ole Ted Talk

Here is my drawing from that activity!


One of the most interesting points in Ole’s presentation was when he mentioned the average person saying “I can’t draw,” yet after a simple lesson, really more like guidance, we all could create cartoons of key drawings that would help to communicate our ideas visually.  This is all encompassing Growth Mindset, choosing to try something new and keeping positive even if things are hard.

Ole mentions that we, as humans, are visual thinkers and these images help solidify what we are trying to share.  Using these to teach, create or set a goal can put it into perspective for many different people.  I loved his ideas on planning a vacation with you family by drawing it together; giving everyone the option to add to and plan together.  I immediately thought about using this to plan a unit with my third grade class!

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CARP and it’s roll in Infographics

If you visited previous blog posts of mine, you know that I have discussed CARP before, you can see my explanation on my CARP Blog Post.  I really took to this idea in design and reference it all the time in my career and personal life.  I’m constantly looking for good and bad examples of CARP and looking for ways to improve those that could be better.

This week we spent looking for infographics that interested us.  I recently started rock climbing and realized that there wasn’t a lot of introductory material on the best ways to approach the sport as a new comer.  There are TONS of videos on safety and plenty of paperwork to fill out when you first visit a gym, but it is very common for the front desk employee to hit play on the safety video, hand you a harness and send you on your way.  There really isn’t much out there to educate you on the best practices of a good climber, or the techniques that help climbers move to the next level of climbing, there’s even a deficit of explanation of all the tools available to a climber.  That being said I decided I wanted to create a mini course for my other class (Developing Online Courseware), this video would serve as a short intoduction to all of those things.

I figured the first thing I needed to do was look at what was already out there and created!  So, I went searching…

Google found lots of climbing, hiking and backpacking infographics.  Some were using illustrations, others had photos.  This one in particular jumped out at me.

Image result for infographic bouldering

I thought the color scheme looked good, the idea behind it made sense.  So let’s break this down in terms of CARP.

Contrast: This graphic has opposite colors, blues and oranges to help the eyes delineate between the two parts.  I like that they are muted colors, more of a burnt orange and a dark teal color.  I think it makes the graphic more natural and less Florida Gators.  There are lines to break up each section that are meant to be climbing ropes, so there is a theme and a job behind these.

Alignment: Starting with the title, the words are lined up correctly and look good next to the graphics on the top and sides.  As we move down each topic is designated by the “rope” running across the page and the title of that section sits on top, the alignment here makes sense.  I did find that the visual representations of different gear had captions nearby and the alignment made sense, however the size of the text was an issue.  The description of the item was so small that even at the size you see above it is too small to read, when I tried to zoom in it lost clarity and was impossible to read.

Repetition: The colors, the font and the mountains with climbers acsending are throughout the graphic and make for great repetition.  The designer did a great job of using variations of the color scheme to highlight different information, from yellow through dark brown and light blue to dark teal.

Proximity: This section goes hand and hand with alignment, the iteams need to make sense next to eachother.  As stated above the text and graphics are complimenting eachother, however there are some issues with the descriptions being too small.  The amount of white space inbetween the graphics and sections is well executed and should not be changed.  The infographic itself is on the long side, if the idea is to make it a long poster, I would leave all of the topics, but if this is intended to be a handout I would suggest removing a section.  There are two obvious parts that aren’t necessary to the infographic being successful; first is the where to climb in Colorado.  Assuming that someone who needs information on what each shoe is intended for or the different knots to use, leads me to think they are just beginning.  A beginner should start in a gym in a controlled area with plenty of mats and spotters, thus rendering the “Places to Climb in Colorado” section an easy section to remove.  Another option would be to remove the final section about the rating scale, or simply make the scale on the very bottom of the page as a quick look and lose the descriptions of each.  Taking out either of these sections would allow for the description of each of the graphics to be a larger font size but wouldn’t take up any more space.

CARP is essential in a good design, it must be present throughout in order to create a cohesive and informative infographic.

Webinar 101: Hosting and Posting


Hi All,

For my masters class on hosting live events we were asked to host two webinars.  The first would be a short, 15 minute webinar where we tried hosting out for a change.  You can view my webinar here!

The second was a team webinar that needed to be about 60 minutes.  We hosted this on Tuesday, April 25th to many of our classmates and a few extra guests.  The presentation was filled with handouts, polls, activities, and discussions.

The topic of the webinar: GoAnimate!

Jacqui won a free subscription for our class when she attended ISTE over the summer. We have used this program to create videos for our graduate courses, our 4th grade class, and our students have begun learning the basics of video creation as well!

We saw the value in not only using GoAnimate videos to engage our learners but also in allowing the students to create video representations of their understanding.

By the end of the webinar, our goal was for our learners to be able to:

  • Locate and use all basic function tools of GoAnimate
  • Create GoAnimate videos for a variety of presentation and learning purposes
  • Describe the benefit of using GoAnimate to create videos for learning purposes

Throughout the webinar, participants had access to our HANDOUT, and they filled it out over the course of the webinar.  There are some great participant notes and quick tips on there for you!  I will also be adding links to videos that were created during the webinar in the handout.

You can see the full webinar recording here!

Lessons learned:

  • No matter how much you rehearse, prepare, and plan, no webinar is perfect.
  • Having presenters be physically separated so that they can both interact with video and sound might actually be better than having presenters sit in the same room.   There are so many unavoidable issues when you have two devices right next to each other.
  • Time goes by MUCH faster than you could ever image.  I thought a 45-60 minute webinar would drag, but as long as you are getting your participants involved and you know what you’re talking about, it’s no time at all.



CARP in design

If you’ve ever done a presentation you have been exposed to the principles of CARP-Contrast, Alignment, Repetition and Proximity.  These keep whatever you are presenting organized and easy to read.

Contrast- relative size or color to convey meaning or importance

Alignment- keeping text, corners or grids on the same plane

Repetition- keeping a predicable layout or pattern throughout

Proximity- having similar ideas grouped together and blank space to even everything out


What is the value of the CARP principles in your design work?

Each principle hold value in the design of the presentation.

If the slides are in a color that doesn’t stand out, the reader is less likely to read it.  If text is in bold or has a star around it, the human eye is drawn to it and knows it holds some importance.

If the text is all over the page or pictures are aligned with the appropriate text, the reader has to work overtime to try to find out which goes with which.  This causes confusion and eventually frustration.

If there isn’t a theme running throughout the presentation it distracts the reader, they are wondering which font will be used next, or what background will be on the next slide.  They aren’t paying attention to the content, but the surroundings.

If ideas or charts are grouped at random the reader will have a hard time distinguishing their significance, as opposed to being grouped with their like.  If the page is too busy and there isn’t any blank space to balance out the text, the reader will become overwhelmed.

Working together with each other, the principles of CARP can create an efficient and effective layout for your presentation.  When taking into consideration the text groupings, balancing blank and used space, highlighting important text and the alignment of the page as a whole- the presenter can give their participating audience just the right amount of information.

Which of the four CARP principles do you believe is most important to consider when designing visual materials for webinars? Why?

I believe the most important principle when designing visual materials is repetition.  Your presentation needs to follow a pattern; it needs to be predictable in order for your learners to absorb the information.  If there is an obvious track the learner can catch onto, it makes the content come more easily.  They can see that the presenter always poses a question and then applies it to the learners life, or the presenter front loads the class then backs off towards the end; whatever the set up, the learner can follow this pattern.

Privacy in Social Media

I know that I am more on the conservative side of public information and privacy.  I know, from personal experience doing my fair share of investigating other people via social media, that a lot can be found on websites that people don’t realize are out there.

My personal pages have only my initials or first name, this is so my students cannot search my name and friend request me, the problem lies in my friends.  I am friends with all the other teachers at my school and they can easily find me through them.  This is a pet peeve of mine, even though I have used it several times to find people, I hate that it can be used on me.

Besides changing the names on the social media sites I use, I also don’t let people know that I have certain sites, again, especially not my students.  For the most part I don’t receive friend requests from any of my students, and if I do I just ignore the request.  I also have made a couple of sites private to ensure that my posts are note posted everywhere.

I think that we all take the risk of someone seeing our posts, so despite all of the safeguards we may put in place, we must remember that it is public information.  I always remember this before I post anything!

Tribes- Your true fans

My mom used to tell me a story about a professor she had in college.  He told his class that it was proven that college students only retain about 80% of the material taught in his class, so he said, I will be teaching 120% of the material so that you get 100% of what you really need!

This is the idea behind your “tribe”


A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, to a leader, and to an idea in which they have faith.  In other words, a following of people that believe the way you do, or at least understand you as a person and could explain how you feel in your absence.

I personally loved the Ted Talk about Tribes and the “Finding your Tribe may be the hardest thing to do” article.

I agree, finding a TRUE group that understands you as a person is very difficult.  I know only a select few that could truly say who I am as a person.  I believe I am still forming a tribe that know me for the person that I am.  I attribute this to the fact that I am still growing as a person.  I have moved around a lot as an adult and tend to grow apart from people, never in a hated manner, but simply due to changing my thinking or way of life!

My NLS is a Google Plus group made for others in my field, and specifically aimed to 4th grade teachers looking for support.  I believe this Google Plus is a great way to start a following and create a tribe.  If you meet in a place that is centered around everything you agree on, it is a good start in understanding who each person is- you have found a common ground.

I do believe it is difficult to find your tribe, but if you put yourself out there, you may be surprised!

What’s up 2

My second hot topic I from my personal facebook.  I have to say, I find it REALLY creepy that I always have ads for things I have done or previously purchased.  I know that there is something to do with “cookies” and search history- but I swear sometimes facebook reads my mind!

Anyway, I chose this Google Ad, because it works directly with the project I am working on for this class.  As I am new to Google Plus and utilizing all of its resources I found this to be an interesting read.  Most of the information was for more personal use, or things I do not need professionally, regardless, I was glad to have read it! facebook

That’s all for now!

What’s Up 1

Hello World!

Please excuse my absence, my life has dissolved into utter chaos- aka the school year began and I still feel like I’m trying to catch up.  I’m taking my master’s classes, taking Gifted Courses, teaching full time and piloting a new co-teaching program while managing 47 kids!  It’s a lot.

I wanted to share “what’s up” in my social media world.  I screen grabbed an article from Pinterest that caught my eye and I wanted to share it with you!


My hot topic comes from my personal Pinterest feed.  This pin is directly related to something I want to start implementing into my ELA block, just some interest writing in the classroom via blogs.  

I found that when reading the article most of the information I already knew, but the information was implemented in a more school minded avenue.  I liked that I could easily get to the article and didn’t have to skip through advertisements.  This article was simply on my feed based on things I have searched or pinned recently.  

Trying Something New

First, I really like this assignment.  I am always looking for new tools, but don’t often get the time to check them out myself, so thanks for forcing me!

I chose “Quora” (Links to an external site.)

I looked though a couple of the sites you sent, but this one jumped out at me.  I checked out the about page before I signed up.  I like that this website is like the deeper thinking version of yahoo answers.  So, I signed up and spent a full 5 minutes selecting things I was interested in.  I LOVED that there weren’t just generic options like “science,” “fashion,” and “cooking.”  There were probably HUNDREDS of options to choose from.  Once I got into the website I started scrolling.  I already know I am going to be laying in bed reading some of these- I have already downloaded the app!

I like that this website has a feed based on those topics that I enjoy, but I am finding that I wish there was a topic filter for that feed.  If I just wanted to look into “palentology” questions, there should be a filter for that.

As an educator I forsee this being a great tool to show my students.  I would have to do a lot of research in the beginning and only show them the answer to foster a discussion.  Overall, I like the website, simply because it gets me thinking about topics in a different way.