Teaching Visually

November 25th, 2019

I promote and teach Sketching (art), Visual Thinking (design), Storytelling, Sketchnotes (education), Graphic Facilitation and more.


The Beginning

Background and rationale



Doodle monsters

Your marks have meaning


What is a 'jam'?

...a process of rapidly brainstorming and prototyping

Icon jam instructions

Number your index cards (#1 - #?)


Wait for prompt


Draw for 30 seconds


Gallery walk

Lets draw!

Lets walk!

TEXT and story

WORDS have meaning(s)






making space

  • Ki (起): The first panel forms the basis of the story; it sets the scene.

  • Shō (承): The second panel develops upon the foundation of the story laid down in the first panel.

  • Ten (転): The third panel is the climax, in which an unforeseen development occurs.

  • Ketsu (結): The fourth panel is the conclusion, in which the effects of the third panel are seen

Abstract Comics

Grids and Gestures

Living Documents:

Drawing a 3-Panel Comic from Primary Sources



  • Contact CEE (Program Director or Grant Gregson)

  • Lesson/Message/Learning Objective

  • Timeline

  • Length of Video

  • Technical and Pedagogical  Support (Jason, Grant, PD's, Nathan)

  • Distribution/Platform (Canvas, YouTube, etc.)

  • Choose parts of a lesson that you can visualize and you can tell a story with

  • Should be memorable and increase learning

why tell a story?

“We are a species that's wired to tell stories. We need stories. It's how we make sense of things.

It's how we learn.

Steven Soderbergh, director (Ocean’s 11, Traffic)


stories help us learn

“Stories are our primary tools of learning and teaching, the repositories of our lore and legends. They bring order into our confusing world. Think about how many times a day you use stories to pass along data, insights, memories or common-sense advice.”

Edward Miller, founder of Edward Elementary, illustrator and  designer


Lesson Plan is your script,

and the script is your road map.

what is your story?

  • Lesson Plan can be your story
  • Purpose?
  • Can your message be put into a story? 
  • Can simply be the progression in your lesson plan framed as a story (Plot)
  • Beginning, Middle and End
  • Characters/Subjects (eg. person, inanimate object, plant, animal, etc.)

3 act structure

  • Act I: Introduction and Set Up (25% of the story)
    • Here's the problem/proposal
    • Intro "characters"
  • Act II: Delivering your message  (50% of the story)
    • Diving into the problem
    • What happened?  Surprises?
  • Act III: Climax, Wrap Up, Conclusion (25% of the story)
    • What changed?
    • Look to the future
    • Remind Your Viewers
    • Call to Action (ie. go here for more)

eg. AMoeba lifecycle

  • Act I:
    • Amalie the Amoeba floats in a freshwater pond, capturing food by phagocytosis with pseudopodia
    • Amalie needs to reproduce before it dies in 2 days
  • Act II:
    • Binary Fission occurs
    • Amalie retracts its pseudopodia, divides nucleus
  • Act III:
    • Two daughter amoeba cells formed, Ali and Abby
    • Two new amoebas must spend the next day or two accumulating fuel to reproduce, repeating cycle

should i storyboard?

“I don't storyboard like some. I mean,
all directors are different. I plan   meticulously - really meticulously.”

                -Paul Greengrass, director (United 93, Captain Phillips)



what is a storyboard?

  • How we visualize a project in a linear way
  • An agreement among stakeholders (ie. students, instructors, staff)
  • Everyone on the same page
  • Can be drawings, photos, icons

storyboard types

  • Video
  • Animation
  • Explainer
  • Powerpoint




storyboard templates

scripting and storyboard activity

  • Write a short, 1-minute, 3-Act story in 3 or 4 frames
  • Lesson plan can be your script
  • Approximately 150 words/minute for spoken words
  • 30 seconds+ might be drawing!
  • Beginning, middle and end


production tips

Don't cover face, but no bare arms

Wear solid, dark colours

No patterns on clothing

Keep it short

Black dots

Play Plan Practice Produce Perform

the end

more to explore

resources and links