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Sketchnotes Lesson 3 Flow & Connectors

We have looked at fonts and icons so now let’s talk about the last few things that you need to think about when you sketchnote. The first idea that I want you to think about is the flow of your note. The flow is how your information is organized? Your note may be linear, it may follow a clockwise direction or it might spoke out from a main idea in the middle. The flow of you note is up to you.

Another element that you will want to think  about is connectors. These allow others to get an idea of how your thinking is linked. Like the flow, this concept is completely up to you.

Sketchnotes Lesson 2 – Icons

Easy Faces

Now that you have established and played around with fonts the next element of Sketchnoting  to think about is icons. A good place to start is drawing stick people. Take some time and draw as many stick figures as you can. Think of all the ways to show different emotions, feelings and actions.

Now that you have experimented with your stick figures it’s time to tackle some other icons. Take a look at all the emojis that are out there if you are stuck for ideas. You will find that there will be a number if icons that are multi-purpose. The earth, for example, is an image that could be used to represent the world, nature, green thinking ideas global ideas.

You don’t need to worry about being a great artist, you just need to worry about your icons and images making sense to you.  It would be really helpful to keep a library of the stick figures and icons that you have developed – everyone needs a reminder every once in a while. The longer you sketch note the more icons you will develop.

Sample Icons
Sketchnote Tips

Happy Sketching!

Works Cited
Chua, Sacha. Sketchnote Emotions. Digital image. Living an Awesome Life. N.p., 12 July 2013. Web. 12 May 2016. <>.
Duckworth, Sylvia, and Carol A. McGuire. Sketchnote Tips. Digital image. E-Tools for Language Tachers. Blogger, 2015. Web. 12 May 2016. <>.
Sketch Icons. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2016. <>.

Technology, Pedagogy, Mindset, and now – Learning Environments

FullSizeRenderOur 1:1 iPad initiative in the Avon-Maitland District School Board has been responsible for the fastest and most significant change in mindset that I have had in 17 years of teaching.

As an NGL Technology Coach (Next Generation Learning) I have gone through a transformation as my role has organically evolved in the past two years. Initially, what we did as coaches was largely about the device, and seemed very app-centric. That’s understandable, as there was a lot of training and professional development to be done. But as we systematically put 4500 iPads into the hands of our grade 7 – 10 students, our focus became the professional development that would result in a transformation of pedagogy.

In 24 short months we have moved from the device, toward the PD and pedagogies associated with transformed practices, and a massive shift in system mindset. This innovators mindset, paired with a focus on new literacies, shifts the roles of teachers and learners and leverages the power of the device (among other things). We are slowly getting our heads out of our apps. 😉


The final piece in this transformative puzzle is that of the learning environment. If we are no longer delivering content in traditional forms on a regular basis, why must our classroom reflect traditional designs? My students no longer need to spend the majority of their time facing the ‘front’ of the room, looking at me. I know longer act as the sole provider of content, but more a facilitator,or guide, in an effort to tap into the creativity of my students. They now work in a much more collaborative environment (both physical and digitally) and are learning to communicate and problem solve in new and exciting ways. Their learning environment should be reflective of that transformation. Hence, our agile learning environment.

This collection of flexible and agile work spaces instantly changed the feel of our room. There is no seating plan. There are no assigned partners or seats. In truth, in some cases there are no seats – as students choose to stand in Stand2Learn desks, or at adjustable and mobile ‘Ergotron’ standing desks. There is even a couch.

The addition IMG_4019of transparent, wall-mounted “idea panels” for brainstorming, and the ever-popular window bar (which takes advantage of our 5 metre window that overlooks thousands of acres of fields and forests) add an openness and airiness to the room that is refreshing.


The students IMG_4021have been asked to be very mindful and metacognitive when it comes to justifying the workspaces they choose for certain tasks. Already, they are aware that the sofa, been bags, and ottoman are better for collaborative tasks that involve conversation. They suggest that the window bar offers a more private area where students choose to minimize distractions. They’ve even said the view allows them to focus and visualize while reading and writing! These, of course, are early observations and are qualitative at best. The ultimate goal is that our agile learning environment has a positive impact on student outcome.


When paired with an innovators mindset, a transformative approach to teaching and learning, and 1:1 mobile devices, I’m certain that our new agile learning environment will create results that reach far beyond engagement and motivation.

If you’d like to see more pictures, or have a conversation about our classroom, follow me on twitter and DM me at @iAMTrevorHammer

It’s not just about access to information – but the ability to learn from one another!

connected-learningI’ve long said that the best way to provide PD is to leverage the expertise within our ranks. And, last Friday in Mitchell, we did just that! I think it is fair to say that we witnessed, and were part of, something incredible.  A collection of dedicated professionals that represent all of the major partners in education – including ECE’s, EA’s, Teachers, Senior Staff, Principals, Vice-Principals and Program Staff – came together to learn from one another. It was an incredible day, and it is due to the vast array of interests, passions, talents, and skills that exist within our Board.

George Couros certainly set the tone for the day. Not only did he give us a lot to think about, but I think his message validated our purpose, and echoed the sentiments of many within our board.

One of the key pieces that I took away from that day, is that by connecting with one another, either F2F or via technology, we are stronger, more effective, and more efficient because of our ability to learn from on another.

As we move through the remaining months of this school year, it is my hope that you remained buoyed by the energy, knowledge and excitement that came for learning from our peers. I also hope that you manage to remain connected, and continue to make new connections with staff across the board so we can continue to move forward in our shared vision.

Thank you for being such an important part of a very successful and meaningful Professional Development day.



Thanks to Presenters and Participants

I wanted to personally thank everyone who came to yesterday’s PD Day. I had the privilege of visiting many of the sessions and meeting many of the presenters and participants, throughout the day. I saw a lot of powerful presentations. I also saw evidence of a great deal of preparation and practice. It obviously took a lot of time and energy to put together these workshops. All the presenters should be commended for their contributions to our teachers, our EAs and our ECEs.

I also wanted to commend our participants. Your engaged and thoughtful approach made the presentations even better. I also heard a lot of positive chatter in the hallways. Your open-minded and innovative mindsets make PD Days more powerful and that translate into powerful teaching and better-prepared students.

Please feel free to add your own comments here.

Building Learning Around Questions

One of my Sunday morning routines is to scroll through Twitter… scanning the posts of the people that I follow –  many of whom work in education all over the world.  Yesterday, I kept coming back to this graphic – and found myself wondering, “What would the school day look like, if these questions drove the agenda?”  – I won’t pretend to know how to organize a day, with 31 different learners (I include myself in that number), all with different goals and interests, strengths and needs, levels of maturity and self-regulation –  all pursuing their own agendas, but I do wonder if it would work – would everyone learn? be engaged, on-task, & motivated?  What do students need to effectively direct their own learning? questions-1oh207m

Sound Booths for the Classroom

I had the chance to chat with Mr. Connolly of Stratford Central SS. He showed me this amazing project he put together last year with several other teachers (Dave Bond, Tony Theodoropoulos and Stuart Wilson). They received some funding from the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and came up with this very cool design for a mobile sound booth. It comes in very handy in our NGL classrooms, with all the multimedia work being created by students.