- Say before writing. We process hearing information faster than writing it. Start with a simple oral explanation so students can begin processing right away, accompanied by a visual summary. Avoid too much text in the beginning of a lesson.
- Use key words and simple diagrams. When designing a lesson, structure how you will introduce the “power vocabulary” a student needs to acquire. The vocabulary represents the window into understanding the larger concepts. Remember, diagrams using vocabulary reinforces the connections, but be sure diagrams are not overly layered with text. In Presentation Zen, Garr Reynolds writes about good presentations have “simple, but not simplistic” graphics or images to illustrate ideas in powerful ways. Simple graphics that make powerful connections are easier for the brain to process.
- Position = Relationship. Here the use of space allows the teacher to show the relationship between ideas. In a simple compare and contrast diagram, two ideas or concepts can be compared, processed by the student, and more easily stored in memory. (see figure 1)
- Erase before a new concept. As the lesson unfolds, good design allows for transition periods from one concept to another. A teacher should reset the scene for the new concept to be presented, drawing connections to the previous concept. Hunter writes:
A clear head encourages clear thinking.
the implication being that when one part of the lesson is complete, clear the scene and set up for the next concept. He suggests erasing old material before presenting new material.
when using photographs, posters, static charts or realia, first let the students take in the visual as a whole because often the whole gives the learning the necessary meaning. After they see the whole, focus them through words, covering, or pointing on that to which you want them to pay particular attention. (page 59)