Thursday, October 10, 2013

Graphic Facilitation And Back-To-School Night: Thanks To Our PLN

Source: ASIDE, 2013
We recently finished our back-to-school night with our parents, and thanks to ideas from our PLN, it was quite different from what we’ve done in the past. Instead of the usual distribution of paper outlining our course description, class expectations, and grading policy, we opted for a graphical display of ideas. We’ve participated in workshops, followed discussions on Twitter, and kept up with blogs about graphic facilitation, sketchnotes, and visualizing information to know of their utility. More importantly, though, it has been the connections with other educators in our PLN that have made a difference.

This visualization was done ahead of time and was larger then your typical interactive whiteboard projection. All the talking points, from bullets to images, were large, colorful, and definitely held our parent’s attention. By using graphic facilitation, we needed no notes. The visual notes were right in front of us.

Source: Dave Burgess
Our bullets on passion come directly from the book, Teach Like A Pirate, by Dave Burgess. We have also in the past had the opportunity to see him live. If there is anyone who exudes passion, it’s Dave. For teachers, passion for their content, profession, and personal goals all matter. Like an orchestra, they work together in concert. This is also what we want from our learners, and as educators our job is to cultivate it by letting our kids know that inside and outside, passions matter to learning and to us.

Source: ASIDE, 2013
While we don’t have a pirate in the room, we do have an eight-foot knight. So to teach and learn like one, we decided on three words – loyalty, fearless, and chivalry. Loyalty to each other as a collective whole, fearless about learning, and showing respect are all important to working together in collaboration. Whatever it takes to build that bond is worth it.

Balancing technology and making is also an important part of learning, and kids need to tinker with their hands, grapple with problems, and ponder ideas. As connected educators we want to ensure that our learners are connected in a digital environment, yet we equally value an “I Make” approach that lets them touch materials and not just a screen. We’ve built on this idea from our connections with others in the maker movement, and we stand by our motto "Make It, Own It, Learn It." Striking this balance both in and out of school was a message we wanted our parents to hear, too.

Suffice it to say, using this type of presentation not only enabled us to be more engaged with a room full of parents, but it also gave them a clear understanding that we draw our inspiration from a wealth of educators in our PLNs. So thank you all.

For other posts on connecting with students in and out of school, please see:


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