Saturday, October 31, 2020

Anatomy of a Killer Agenda

Great facilitators have killer agendas. This is the place where students can go to find anything they need to support their learning. Do your agendas include the five elements listed below?

5 Elements of a Killer Agenda


The agenda has a title that clearly conveys what the session is about.

Brief overview 

Provide an overview of the session that includes what students will know and be able to do following the session.


There are meaningful hyperlinks to all resources. Students should not have to copy down urls or have to memorize directions. These should all be in the resources.


A well thought out agenda is timed outlining how many minutes are allocated to each topic.  

Link to slides

Link each part of your agenda to the corresponding slide. This makes it easier to go back and forth between the deck and agenda should a student want to do that. It also makes it easier for any student to turn-key the information to others. This is particularly important for scenarios when the person taking the class may be asked to be responsible for taking what they learned back to their school or office and teach it to others. 

Here's an example

Screenshot of an agenda with all the elements stated in the article

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Gesticulation As A Strategy to Engage Learners

Whether a lesson is pre-recorded, live video, or face-to-face, one simple, research-based idea to engage learners is to use gesticulation. This means using gestures, especially dramatic ones, instead of speaking or to emphasize one's words. Here are some ways to do that.


Props are a great way to help with this. Big glasses, hats, wands, etc. You can hop on Amazon and search photobooth props and get lots of packages that don't break the bank. 


Pull out the old costumes or wait til they go on sale after Halloween and get some new ones. Gesticulating while wearing a costume provides a fun and easy way to engage students.


Create or load up some backgrounds related to what your teaching. Most video conferencing platforms have some built in and also allow you to customize. Of course, you can also create a physical background using items such as maps. Be ready to dramatically gesture to items on your background to help illustrate what you are teaching.

Fun with Filters

Get your filter game on and figure out which filters pair well with your lesson.  Below is a Tweet for inspiration. 

Gesticulation in Action

Hat tip to Cornelius Minor for sharing the importance of gesticulation in a recent share session where he also provided an example of an excellent teacher who incorporates this into her work. Click on the video to go to the Outschool website where you can see Teacher Saara, M.Ed in action.

Teacher on screen with props (glasses and nose)  and a virtual background (map)

Your Turn

Which of these ideas might you incorporate into your work. Are there ideas you've tried that aren't mentioned here? If so, please share.