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Eduro Learning

Tell Me with a Graphic


Heather Dowd


We often ask students to communicate their learning visually, but we don’t always provide them with the graphic design tools they need to create an effective message. In this workshop, we’ll play with Google Drawings as a tool to create a poster or other visual while exploring basic visual literacy and graphic design skills we can apply ourselves and share with students. Allowing students to show their learning in new and creative ways is a great use of the technology in our classrooms. Join me in my mission to beautify the school walls. We’ll create something and share ideas we can use in the classroom. While we’ll be using Google Drawings in this session, the visual literacy and graphic design skills we discuss can be applied to any tech tool, even paper!


Anyone who wants to create (or teach students to create) visuals that communicate a message effectively.

Part 1 - Finding Inspiration

Part 1 – Finding Inspiration

Find a visual you love

  1. Look online for an example of a visual you like. Possible places to explore:
    1. Pinterest
    2. The Big Picture – The Boston Globe
    3. Wordless News
    4. Photo of the Day – National Geographic
    5. What’s Going On in This Picture? – NYTimes
    6. Newsela
  2. Add a screenshot of a design you love in this shared slideshow. (Read the instructions in the slideshow.)
  3. When your table group is ready, introduce yourself to your group including who your students are and what you teach.
  4. Share your visual and why you like it.
Part 2 - Introduction to Visual Literacy

Part 2 – Introduction to Visual Literacy

Basic Graphic Design

Follow along with these slides

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 8.55.05 PM

Create a visual

Choose a poster to play with OR start with a blank canvas. Click the link below the image to create a copy for yourself. You must be logged in to a Google account.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 8.56.26 PM

A Day at the Park

After school club advertisement

Swim Meet Ad

Self assess your work with this rubric.

Share your work

Add a screenshot of your work to this shared slideshow.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 8.58.37 PM

Use the above questions to have a conversation with your group about their visuals.

Part 3 - Visual Literacy in the Classroom

Part 3 – Visual Literacy in the Classroom


  • Why is it important to teach these visual literacy skills to students?
  • Where can you incorporate teaching visual literacy in your classroom?
  • What can your students create to communicate an idea visually?


Share your ideas on this shared Google document.

Resources for the classroom

Common Core in Action: 10 Visual Literacy Strategies by Todd Finley

IVLA – International Visual Literacy Association

Viewing Map of Development and Viewing Resource Book from the Western Australia Department of Education

The Power of Visual Communication Infographic

Using Photographs to teach visual literacy


Resources you can use with students

The Big Picture – The Boston Globe

Wordless News

Photo of the Day – National Geographic

What’s Going On in This Picture? – NYTimes



Standards that address visual literacy

Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE Standard 1)

Mid-Continent Research for Educational and Learning Corporation (McRel Standard 9)



Heather’s graphic design resources

“Design Secrets Revealed” by Keri-Lee Beasley – free in the iBooks Store

See student created work here


Tips and Tricks


Advice for elementary teachers

  • Make things step by step.
  • Always give choices, BUT (see next bullet point)
  • Limit options (only 3 colors, shape has to be at least this size, etc.) Increase options with age.
  • Always limit font to two…regardless of age.
  • Talk about repetition and contrast. (Consider leaving out proximity and alignment.)
  • Relate repetition to math.
  • Model the language – teach the vocabulary and use it.
  • Think of non digital ways you can practice these concepts.
  • You know your students…do what you think is best for them.


Tech Tastings Workshop

Date: Oct. 28 - 29
Walla Walla
Location: Marcus Whitman Hotel
Save $25 when you enter the code: JumpStartED 
before August 31st

Save $25

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