C3Wk4- The Art of Communication

Visual aides have a quick way to either support your content or completely overwhelm or even bore your audience.

man in pink crew neck t-shirt

Communication, especially for students who have auditory processing difficulties or who don’t speak English as their first language rely on these visuals to fully comprehend the content. Educators need to not only rely on how they were taught, but continue to model how to be present while learning.

Photo by THABANG MADNSELA on Unsplash

We have all experienced boredom… the last thing any educator wants is for those feelings to be present in the classroom

Olivia Chow's Community Art Project - Screwed Out of Our Share

“Olivia Chow’s Community Art Project – Screwed Out of Our Share” by Tania Liu is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The first step I would take to support my colleagues with enhancing their communication with visual aides would be to show them the Ted Talk:

The Art of Delivering Information | Mike Johnston | TEDxLaSierraUniversity

I couldn’t agree more that educators tend to get bogged down with the content and focus less on the delivery. The actual education aspects all being in the delivery. The delivery of the content is where the art form comes into play and can be seen as a talent.

“Cracking the Code” is seen as the step that we as educators must take when asking ourselves,

“WHY isn’t the kid getting it?”

and even more importantly telling ourselves,

“It’s on ME!”

Continually looking for ways to present and deliver our content in the most engaging ways possible is the reason education is an art form, not just a science. We must treat each and every lesson like a sold-out performance, where our students are eagerly awaiting the tickets.

Magnifying, Glass, Detective, Looking, Lens, Proof

The books “Teach Like a Pirate” and “Tech like a Pirate” are more resources I have found beneficial. They help your students make real-world connections and get excited about their learning. Eventually leading up to the ultimate goal of students being more in control over their learning.

The visual aid I chose to update this week was our referral chart for the Student of Concerns process. I think almost every year these charts change as our school evolves on how to best meet the needs of our students.

As you can see in the first and second images, these were the old flow charts from 2018 and 2019. With keeping this week’s resources in mind I was able to summarize the information to keep it simple yet draw your attention to the main areas focusing on size and color contrast.

2018    2019

I gathered feedback at my grade level meeting using the Connections protocol. It was easily facilitated and I was able to gather data quickly in the sense that it was still very unclear what many of our acronyms stand for in SEN- which in it of itself is an acronym still not well known outside of the Special Education Needs world.  The feedback collected left us with a sense that most teachers are still unclear with the process on what to do when faced with struggling students, that pave the way for a smooth referral process into the Special Education program if need be.

This time around I made sure to keep things short and avoid the title being the largest thing on the page.  I simplified the sentences to shorter words which allowed me to go more in detail about being referred to the SEN program vs. just stating a “more intensive level of intervention”.  It was a little more difficult to achieve as a visual aid standing alone, but I chose to still create it in Google Slides so that it could have the animation highlighting the worlds and dimming them afterward when presenting this flow chart at our MS faculty meetings.  Highlighting a new section while you present while dimming the information you have already spoken about is a really effective way to hold your audience’s attention.

Having the title not be the largest thing on the slide was a surprise, but entirely made sense to keep your key points the largest. It leaves me wondering then why all templates within these programs have the slide designed that way from the start.   I was already implementing the design rules of only a few words on slides and avoiding full sentences, but these resources were a great reminder to ensure people are not getting bored and sitting through my presentations with an “ugh”.

How to Avoid Death by PowerPoint

by David JP Phillips- TEDxStockholmSalon and by Don Mcmillan (Stand up Comedy) were also great resources.  They reinforce the overuse of acronyms happening within many classrooms. We need to ensure that there is consistency between classrooms as well as the importance of font selection.

Life After Death by PowerPoint

What does your font say about you?




I would like to learn more about the magic number of 6. As I find it fascinating how people on average recognize this number but once it goes over we start to count. We have used this rule before when working with Student Service Learning trips- whether it is called Week Without Walls or Discovery Week, these teacher-led trips 

Blue, Glass, Marbles, Kids, Games, Play, Round

often involve a high number of students traveling to another country for a period of time. When doing a risk analysis we have applied this rule of 6 in terms of the Teacher to Student Ratio. So that at any given moment when traveling throughout an airport, museum, or market you as the chaperone can quickly and effectively keep a watchful eye on the students you have been entrusted with. I know not every school follows this rule, at times chaperoning small groups that are larger than this.  But knowing that…


…it takes 500% more brain power energy to count…

I would think this would become a standardized practice for all positions where student safety could be at risk.

This weeks design principals have reminded me how many presentations we sit through as well as the ones our students participate in, must be more engaging and stress the importance of not only questioning and storytelling but reminding ourselves about dessert first and having passion when explaining.

You Are the Presentation

Not the Slides…

The Slides Are Your Visual Aide


“YOU!” by Marcy Leigh is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Please don’t forget to take part in our Community Text Rendering that can be found here: COETAIL’S Cycle of Socialization. 

And leave a comment “below”- I’d love to see what your school’s Student of Concern Process looks likes and how to best communicate this with the wider school audience outside the SEN Departments.