Text Structures and Signals in Infographic Form

Creating Infographics with Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Finally Canva

The image below is a novice’s attempt at creating an infographic.  It took over a week to conclude that trying to create this monster with Illustrator or Photoshop was an exercise in futility.  Canva became the tool of choice once all hopes of making something beautiful from scratch were dashed.


Text-Dependent Analysis became a hot topic among educators once the Common Core State Standards were published. One aspect of TDA is the understanding of text structures.

I created the infographic to complete an assignment within a professional development course offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  This course, “Text-Dependent Analysis,” helps teachers to learn more about a strategy that has gained attention since the Common Core State Standards were published.  The CCSS emphasize close reading across all subject areas and teaching those skills that students need to analyze a text using the text itself as evidence and for drawing conclusions.  Students will be better prepared for college and career if they learn this strategy.  They will ask better questions of whatever text is in front of them and be more capable when faced with challenging texts.

As with most good courses, we students are not just learning about the course topic, but we are immersed in it.  In other words, instead of just learning about TDA, we are doing it.  That’s what the infographic is all about, I think.  Think of it as a graphic organizer, a tool that becomes very important to those doing TDA.   We create this graphic organizer to help us better understand the article upon which it is based.

As usual, I did not follow the directions, though, when working on the assignment.  The assignment mentioned three online infographic tools to use for the assignment, one of which was Canva.  So, what did I do?  I started with Illustrator and Photoshop.  I could have finished the assignment in a couple of hours.  Instead, I think I clocked over 20 hours on this assignment!  Why did I make things so hard on myself?  Oh, that’s just me.  Each time I end up frustrated like that, I think I have learned my lesson.  Alas, no.

The good news is that I relented at last.  I think the graphic is good, and I think students should learn to create their own, so the assignment has put grand ideas into my head.  Don’t worry though.  I won’t make them take the route I took.  I’ll tell them, “Trust me, just use Canva.”

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There Are So Many Ways We Get the Pursuit of Happiness Wrong

If you ever want to figure out why you can’t find happiness, read or listen to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.  Manson doesn’t mince words in this book, and the language might be off-putting to some, but I don’t think he gives a… you know.  I was listening to the book this morning on the way to work when I heard the clips referenced below.  This isn’t the first time that Manson’s perspective has led me to be reflective and take a hard look at my life.  However, these few minutes of the audiobook really moved me – so much that I wanted to share them with whomever reads this blog and my Twitter feed.

The Audible website describes this book as “A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.”  Amen.

27 Minutes: One Teacher’s Vision for a Standards-Based Classroom

In this presentation, you will learn more about my vision for a standards-based classroom: what it would look like, how it would be run, and how students’ progress would be recorded and reported.


This is the final presentation in a series of three.  As an aside, I will never use Adobe Presenter for presentations like this again.  Want to know why?  Please leave a comment.

At any rate, the other presentations are:

A 20 Minute Introduction to Standards-Based Education

Learn More about Standards in 11 Minutes, 15 Seconds

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Learn More about Standards in 11 Minutes, 15 Seconds

During this module, we will investigate standards in more detail.  Specifically, we will review:

  • How standards are organized (subject area, strand / standard area, standard)
  • The difference between learning objectives and standards
  • The process used to unpack standards and create learning targets that students, parents, and the community can understand
  • Just a little bit about rubrics

If you cannot retrieve the samples I put in the presentation, you can download the sample rubrics from this page.

Constructive feedback is welcomed and encouraged.

Lesson learned: Adobe Presenter is probably not for me.

A 20 Minute Introduction to Standards-Based Education

Standards-based education is a complicated departure from traditional education strategies.  For many educators, it creates cognitive dissonance, a discomfort one feels when trying to adopt a new view that is dramatically different from the one they have held.  By adopting this method of instruction and grading, educators are putting traditional instructional and grading practices aside in favor of teaching to standards and grading progress toward mastery.  This can be quite distressing.  Additionally, everything needs to change related to teaching and learning in the classroom: curriculum, classroom procedures, and assessment – just to name a few.


Constructive comments about this eLearning module are welcome.