Creative Thinking, K-12

Grab a Compliment

I belatedly decided to attend the ISTE 2020 virtual conference last week, and I am so glad I did. I have taken over 20 pages of notes (yes, the old-fashioned way because I remember it better!) and still have hours of sessions that I want to watch. The sessions are available for 6 months after the conference, so I hope to learn even more.

I have so much to share, but I know that this is not a time to be overwhelming everyone. My goal is to share one thing I learned each day for the next few days.

I’m going to start with an incredible session that I went to that was presented by Tony Vincent (@TonyVincent). He is the author of the Learning in Hand blog, offers online graphics workshops, and produces Shapegrams, a program that challenges students to increase their spatial and design skills by reproducing digital drawings.

I must admit that I’ve never been super excited by Google Drawings, so I missed the live presentation by Tony Vincent this year at ISTE. However, so many tweets sang his praises that I decided to check out the recorded session. And, well… wow! He really knows how to leverage Google Drawings to make learning interesting. I had no idea that it has so much potential.

Here is the link to the many activities shared by Tony. As I mentioned above, I just want to focus on one cool idea to avoid causing anyone reading this a complete meltdown. I decided to pick one of the last ones that he shared, the “Grab a Compliment” template. You could easily adapt this to a million different activities in your classroom. The design method is fairly simple. Type something inside a shape in white, and leave it on a white background – then have students drag it to the orange shape in the middle to “reveal” the words. Compliments are awesome, but you could also put reflection questions, breakout room tasks, trivia challenges, or anything you dream of. Another idea would be to have each student fill a white shape with a compliment, question, something they want to share, or whatever. The sky is the limit!

I want to thank Tony Vincent for presenting a creative and engaging session that gave me lots and lots of ideas. I also applaud him for giving a link to a Q&A Flipgrid so teachers could ask him questions, and he could respond afterwards. He is definitely a presenter role model for me!

Photo by Eva Elijas on

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