And First We Make a Plan: Working in the Lab and in the Classroom

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SWBAT design a plan for their banned book infographics.

Big Idea

Having a plan improves student performance.

Teacher to Teacher: Lesson Context and Time Frame

This lesson is part of the Persuasive Essay writing unit. In the unit students are learning about banned books, so to help them prepare for the summative writing assignment at the end of the unit, I decided to have students create infographics based on the books they chose to read. 

As this is a new unit and as I think about infographics as visuals w/ information, although there are infographic options that are much better than the options I've given students. In short, the infographic assignment is a new task I've tackled this year, and it's still in progress, so in addition to the options I offer here, I'm including a link to a lesson plan I think is superior to this one. 

First, however, why have students make infographics? Why risk not knowing as much about how to create them as I should know. Here's an infographic about the question Why Infographics? 

Additionally, I talk about why I think students need to learn and construct infographics in Why Create Infographics.mp4

Planning Options

10 minutes

Students need choices when it comes to planning creative tasks, especially when given options. Consequently, on one lab day, I allowed students freedom to work on their infographic plans as they saw fit. I simply instructed them to show me their progress at the end of the period. 

As fate would have it, this work day coincided with the end of Homecoming week, so the period was shortened. Additionally, we had an assembly and a barbecue on the schedule, as the big game that night. One other thing on students' minds was having the next day off. It's difficult to get students focused on days like this. 

Taking students to the lab and/or allowing them work time helps teachers manage the chaos. However, it is important that teachers set guidelines and check student work both during the period and at its end. 

Those who chose to create a written plan approached the task differently. 

One student "scripted" his plan and copied in links to resources: Student Written Plan (page 1) and Student Written Plan (page 2) show the student's work. 

Another student used storyboarding, which was the focus of an earlier lesson, to plan his infographic: Student Storyboard Plan


Working in the Lab

45 minutes

Students working in the lab took a variety of approaches. Some began creating Pecha Kuchas while others began working on Prezis. Other students decided to create Animoto videos but had some difficulty w/ the site and lost some of their work. All three options work as planning because both Power Point and Prezi allow students to edit and move text, images, etc. A quick glance at the computer screen shows me the progress students have made. 

Two students use of Prezi show two different levels of progress: Student Prezi in Progress and Student (2) Prezi in Progress.

Since students are working in the lab, they have the opportunity to learn more about using Prezi by directing them to Prezi's many YouTube tutorials, such as this one that gives a general overview of how to use the site:

*A Better Way: Adjustment to the Assignment

You can find a better lesson plan with better resources by visiting the Thinking About Learning and Teaching blog, which is the excellent work of my friend Chris Kervina. Her Infographics assignment is much better than my own. 

I plan to work through Chris's assignment and modify it to meet my students' needs the next time I assign infographics.