Archive for the 'learning & teaching' Category

Structured Note-taking

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

This is a blank handout from my recent workshop on Killer Presentations. The participants have this and a colorful array of markers and pencils. I have a huge version of this on the wall and fill it in as we go along. I’m always fascinated to see how people engage the information and make their notes their own.

My finished version of this section’s notes are below.

Screen-writing class notes

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

On February 14, I attended the first class of Maryedith Burrell’s screen-writing course, as offered through the Great Smokies Writing Program. I recorded a half hour discourse on the history of the narrative in western civilization. It went at a breakneck pace and as full as the page is, I still missed some stuff. It was great fun and I learned a lot in the process.

Download a printable version of the graphic notes from the workshop. (1.2 MB)

Flatiron Writers Workshop: Done & dusted

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

On February 11, the Flatiron Writers and Papershine co-sponsored their first workshop: Creating Your Writing Life. Despite the snowy weather, twenty brave souls joined us at the Unitarian church in Asheville for the daylong workshop. The seminar focused on helping people develop the commitments and habits necessary to realize their writing goals. It was a wonderful and productive day.

I graphically recorded the whole day. It was great fun, because that was my main role, listening and drawing. Often I am facilitating or teaching as I do my graphics, so my attention is divided. The ‘artwork’ suffers. As a group, we had used visual processes to develop the outline, and that gave me a leg up as well; I had a plan for laying out the information before the event started.

Download a printable version of the graphic notes from the workshop. (2.3 MB)

Stay tuned for our next workshop!

My Writing Life

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

My writing life, in prepartion for next weekend’s workshop with the the Flatiron Writers.

PowerPoint versus Slideshows

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

In my presentations workshop, I make a distinction between PowerPoint and slideshows. The slide projector can be an incredible communication tool, sharing images, video and a host of other meaningful content. PowerPoint, as typically used, is good at creating lists. Content often ends up mashed into a hierarchy of bullet points. And God forbid the presenter reads them out loud.

New Workshop: Creating a writing life

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

I’m partnering with the Flatiron Writers to present:

Creating Your Writing Life
This is an all-day workshop designed for those who want to make consistent and sustainable room in their lives for writing. It’s about nurturing that creative space within you, and feeding it with production and pages. Let us help you uncover the resources within to get yourself writing regularly and with purpose.

Learn more and register here: Creating a Writing Life
Learn more about the Flatiron Writers.

Presentations Workshop

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Last Friday I led a four hour workshop on giving presentations. The audience was primarily parents who have children with disabilities. These parents are very active in the community as advocates, educators, and activists and sought new ideas for communicating their message. These are the day’s graphics.

I organized the class into three basic sections: Content, Methods, and People. Of course, these elements all overlap to create a successful presentation, but by taking each in turn, we didn’t get overwhelmed.

We discussed ways to hone in on and organize content. My guiding principles are clarity, honesty, simplicity, immediacy and impact.

We talked about four common methods for presenting information. I discussed the limitations of PowerPoint presentations and the benefits of using graphics as a way to share ideas and informations.

I divided the People section into two parts: the Audience and the Presenter. Throughout I emphasized the idea of a call-to-action. What do these people need to know right now? What do you want them to do tomorrow? I’ve worked in human services long enough to know that if you don’t provide clear instructions and a strong impetus, even the best idea will die slowly and painfully in committee.

The last section of the day was about the Presenter. At Chloe’s feet you’ll find practical ideas for making your presentations go smoothly. Arrayed around her head are many of the more conceptual ideas that guide a good presentation.

Many thanks to Darlyne Sahara, Gwenda LedBetter, Fred Lashley and Jim Johnston for their contributions to making this workshop a success.

Reading Skills

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

I dragged the flip chart easel into the office where Abe was getting his feet worked on by his physical therapist. I drew this story about Robot and Shrimp one word at a time, helping Abe sound out the tricky vowel combinations as he went along. After he had read a sentence from start to finish I would draw the accompanying picture before beginning the next word. It was a fun distraction for both of us and I feel that his reading skills are growing in leaps and bounds right now, in part because we play games like this on a regular basis.

Getting Started In Graphic Facilitation: Tools of the Trade

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

This is a list of the basic tools and sources you’ll need to get started graphics and visual organization in your training and facilitation work.


Sometimes called banner bond, the perfect paper for graphic wall work comes in rolls. It’s generally best to find it on-line and Dick Blick is my preferred vendor. I prefer the 48″ variety. The weight of the paper (20# and 24#) doesn’t matter much. Heavier stocks are a little bit more durable which can be helpful when reusing graphics.


Artist tape is white and can be used to cover up mistakes as well as fasten paper to the wall. It’s sticky enough to do the job but doesn’t damage surfaces. I have been using it exclusively for eight years and never had it take any paint off a wall. It can be expensive in stores but Blick’s prices are very reasonable.


The Alvin Zippy is absolutely the best paper cutter for this type of work. These are often available at local craft stores.



The Grove makes Charters Markers, which are the best markers for facilitation I’ve ever used. I order them by color now, as I primarily use black, blue, green and purple. I have enough red, yellow, orange and brown to last me for years. You might start with full sets and then over time, figure out which ones to order individually. They last a long time and are worth the price. Sharpie makes a set of markers that are okay, but blunt quickly and have some odd colors. Avoid permanent markers and the scented varieties. White board markers often go through the paper.


The Daily Icon: Drivers : 17 February 2009

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

These are activity boards I made for the new woodworking table in Abe’s pre-school classroom. We chose the short, stout screwdriver to be easier to grasp for small hands. This idea was borrowed from a Montessori catalog.
Drawing with Sharpies on wood is fun.


The hex driver.