Tag Archives: visual agenda

Visual Agenda 1st Day

first day visual agenda 6-2- 14Here is the visual agenda for the first day of class next week in my summer Reading Graphic Novels class.  Given the course topic, I’m trying to draw as many examples of sequential art as possible in my teaching of this course and the lesson plan or agenda for the class is a good way for me to show that.

  • Panel 1 = introductions
  • Panel 2 = review the syllabus
  • Panel 3 = ask questions about the syllabus
  • Panel 4 = diagnostic on what students already know about graphic novels and comics
  • Panel 5 = lecture and workshop on visual thinking
  • Panel 6 = homework for next class

More on this class here.

More on my use of visual agendas here.


Visual Agenda for Travel Writing

First Day Visual Agenda 1-16-2014


Here above is photo of handouts for tonight’s first class.  This semester,  I’m teaching an 8 week Travel Writing course culminates in a Spring Break trip to Rome.  Because I’ve used visual agendas before to some success, I thought I would create handouts with tonight’s lesson plan.

The class will be divided into two 55 minute sections with a 10 minute break.  During the first section, we’ll begin with a short video on Hulu from Rick Steves on Rome, and then move into the course requirements via the webpage I’ve built for the course.  I’ll review the 3 course texts, the 4 kinds of writing assignments, the oral presentation assignment, and the tour guide assignment.

In the second half of the class, I’ll focus on our excursion to Rome, reviewing our flight itinerary, our tentative daily schedule over 9 days, and the resources I’ve begun to develop on the course website.

Next, I’ll have students generate questions they have about the course and trip.  And I’ll close out the class with next week’s homework assignment.


Picturing a First-Year Comp Agenda

Preparing agenda Day 2Here is a photo of my open three-ring binder for the two sections of first-year composition I’ll be teaching this fall term..

From left to right:

  • two post-its with the agenda I’ll draw and a sentence I’ll write on the whiteboard for tomorrow’s classes
  • my composition notebook for freewriting at the beginning of each class with photos of William Stafford and Peter Elbow
  • the first text we’ll be reading in class, Jeanette Walls‘ memoir The Glass Castle, sitting on top of the Grammar Diagnostic Exam I’ll also be giving students tomorrow

Here below is a detail photo of the two post-its.  Beginning this semester, I will draw the course agenda for students on the whiteboard prior to each class session.  In the past, I projected numbered or bulleted slides to walk students through the class agenda, but I’ve decided to illustrate the agenda with simple icons to lead me and my students through the class tasks.  (More here on how I began developing this strategy during a visual thinking course I taught this last summer.)

Detail Preparing agenda Day 2

The pencil = We will free-write together at the beginning of each class to focus our energies on writing and on the topics of the class.

?s  = I will ask students if they have questions about the assignments, our schedule, or any aspect of the class.  I will repeat that questions are always good things.

The house = Homework for the next class period.

The line with period = Students will take a Grammar Diagnostic Exam to draw their attention to one aspect of the class: improving their confidence and versatility on composing sentences.

The key and ukulele = I will preview some key terms of the course (Reading, Writing, Drawing Leads to Improved Thinking) and demonstrate how the four strings of the ukulele serve as another reminder of how these four abilities work together to enable us to achieve other purposes.

The line with period again = I will briefly introduce a basic vocabulary of sentences.  I believe “less is more” when it comes to learning sentence grammar.

APA = Students will submit the course Academic Performance Agreement — a signed agreement demonstrating their understanding and acceptance of the course requirements.

?s  = An opportunity at the end of the class for students to ask questions about anything related to the class or work coming due.


A Visual Agenda

During this first summer session, I taught a special topics course I’ve been wanting to teach for some time.  I titled it “Visual Thinking, Narration, and Explanation.”  In the next couple of days in later posts, I’ll share some of the outstanding work created by students in the course, but first I thought I’d show how I presented lesson plans to my students.  This is a very simple and mundane idea, but I spent some time before each class drawing up an overview of that day’s activities so that students could see the narrative arc of the class.   I generally make a numbered list to help students see what I intend for us to accomplish.  But because this course was going to focus on visual thinking and communication, I decided to rethink those daily lesson plans and attempt to create “visual agendas” that would more clearly and memorably communicate what was in store.

VTNE Day 19 Agenda

 The change in imagining these course agendas was affected by the work of the course, but particularly two of the main course texts: The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde and Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud.


Most days started with practice in lettering and drawing simple icons before moving on to questions and sharing responses to the reading assignments.  And on some days, we would move into a computer lab to work on infographics or comics.  (The other two texts in the class included Infographics by Lankow, Ritchie, and Crooks, and Visual Thinking by Rudolph Arnheim.)

Here below is the progression of my 22 daily class plans from the purely linguistic day one agenda to the final class comic agenda with shapes, color, and images dominating the linguistic aspects.

VTNE Day 1 Agenda184 VTNE Day 1 Agenda VTNE Day 2 Agenda VTNE Day 3 Agenda VTNE Day 4 Agenda VTNE Day 5 Agenda VTNE Day 6 Agenda VTNE Day 7 Agenda VTNE Day 8 Agenda VTNE Day 9 Agenda VTNE Day 10 Agenda VTNE Day 11 Agenda VTNE Day 12 Agenda VTNE Day 13 Agenda VTNE Day 14 Agenda VTNE Day 15 Agenda VTNE Day 16 Agenda VTNE Day 17 Agenda VTNE Day 18 Agenda VTNE Day 19 Agenda VTNE Day 20 Agenda VTNE Day 21 Agenda

These agendas, and all student work for the course, were uploaded to a Google + Community site I created for this class, and I began each class displaying this agenda from that platform.  Then we moved on to look at what other students had uploaded from their sketchnotes, infographics, or comic projects.  I’d be happy to invite you to take a look if you send me your gmail address.