Piktochart – an Alternative Syllabus

After leaving Ireland, I vowed to myself that I would try very hard to maintain my blog throughout the school year to share my journey and application of what I have learned through my first summer in the MAET program – so here it goes.

One of the greatest things I took home with me this summer is my PLN – personal learning network. The number of connections I made with people and through social media followers grew exponentially in my 5 weeks abroad. This post is because of them.

When I was scrolling through the MAET overseas Facebook group, I read a post from one of my colleagues asking for advice in creating an alternative syllabus for her class. This educator wanted to make their syllabus more kid friendly and enticing for students, not the same old 17 page contract most of us put together. And then I thought – why had I never thought of that?!

I quickly posted a reply to my colleague’s inquiry, stating that while I had never considered this approach, I was going to immediately get to work on it and report back with my findings.

What did I find?

I found that this was a great idea.

The very first thing that I did was go to my favorite infographic making site – Piktochart – and choose a template. I had one particular template in mind already because I thought it would lend itself to what I was beginning to envision in my mind. I chose my template and got to work.

The first issue I ran into was: how do I take this dry, 17 page, contract-like document and make it into this fun, colorful, concise infographic? (Disclaimer: my “old” syllabus isn’t really 17 pages, I have exaggerated for effect.) I then decided that this infographic would serve more as a guide, rather than a stand alone syllabus.

From there, I was able to discern what information I thought was most important and make that the focus for my infographic – almost like an elevator pitch for being in my class. I decided to focus on a few areas: student learning targets, the IB learner profile, and grading procedures. I then linked the full syllabus to my infographic using a QR code and a standard hyperlink. I thought these three areas of focus gave the best holistic picture of my classroom and expectations – and would be of high interest to students and parents.

The one struggle I had with using Piktochart for my infographic was in formatting. Each element had to be moved independently and when your template begins with 3-4 elements overlaying one another, to move each one on its own was painstakingly time consuming. After a few hours, I finally got everything in a position I could live with.

Overall, I know that my infographic still needs reining and information from my traditional syllabus could be condensed and represented in different ways, but I am proud of what I have accomplished. I am thankful to my colleagues for sharing their great ideas, I am proud of myself for taking a risk, and I am hopeful that I continue to learn and grow to make the best learning environment for my students.

To see my new, improved, non-traditional syllabus, please click the link below!

https://magic.piktochart.com/output/15439496-diploma-english-3-course-overview

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3 thoughts on “Piktochart – an Alternative Syllabus

  1. This is such a wonderful thing! Just checked out the syllabus and was sincerely impressed. Then my brain started up it’s hamster wheels. Of all the things that were flying around in there, I’ll share one: What if you created something similar for any sub that might be in your room? It can include class subtleties and general info for your room that your sub would need. Well done Megan Sessa!

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    • I think that’s a great idea! After making my first draft of my syllabus, my wheels started spinning too. I’d love to keep revising what I’ve done to include more interactive elements like videos, audio or animation. These can be used in so many settings: newsletters home to parents, syllabus, sub plans, lesson plans, activities with kids. You could even incorporate augmented reality elements – I’m excited about the potential. Thanks for reviewing my work and providing feedback, I appreciate you taking the time!

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  2. Love your syllabus, Mrs Sessa. Clear expectations, visually interesting, pithy. Prepares the student well and may even create heightened anticipation for the work and journey ahead.

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