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How we work with Educators


Parents and Educators are managing the delicate balancing act of meeting the ever-growing desire for better test results and nurturing the emotional well-being of over-scheduled children.   Students are increasingly more anxious and stressed out by their workloads and grades, the pressure of college preparation is impacting students earlier and earlier, with even 6th graders worried about the impact of less than perfect scores. Teachers are being asked to cram more into less time and the requirement to teach to the test is leaving less time for the organic learning children thrive from.  


Although the situation may seem dire, there are ways to help teachers and students to become more effective in their learning.


Visual notetaking and creative thinking offers schools the opportunity to provide teachers and students with additional tools to individualize their learning and increase their retention and recall of the information they are receiving.  Visual notetaking also provides life-long learning skills that students can utilize throughout their education and beyond.  Schools, teachers and students need a way to maximize learning without burdening everyone with additional work.


At a time when students need to adapt and respond to situations at an ever-quickening rate, the skills of innovative, critical thinking, advanced communication skills and human creativity are most essential.  Ideas Take Shape works with educators to guide students in learning these invaluable skills.

Visual Notetaking


Studying can be hard, and if you don't master study habits early on studying only gets harder.  Unfortunately the tried and tested study tools do not work for a large number of students, with around 65% of students being visual learners (Mind Tools, 1998).  For these students the established students pattern of read/write/repeat does not work.  Visual notetaking fills this gap.  By teaching students how to record the information they are studying visually they not only process the information in a meaningful way; they also create a visual representation of the information that is much easier for the brain to process.   Through visual notetaking students learn simple ways to create notes that help them establish hierarchy and order while also using simple images to convey a thought, idea or salient point.  The beauty of visual notetaking is that it is unique and specific to each student.  It involves no additional work for the teacher or the student and is a skill it is adaptable to a wealth of situations.

Something to ponder:  According to John Medina Brain Rules Students remember 10% of what they read add a visual and that retention goes up to 65%

Professional development


Ideas Take Shape provides professional development workshops on visual notetaking and literacy to educators.  This unique tool provides educators with additional resources to capture the attention of their students and increase student participation and understanding, while also modelling the use of visual notetaking. By including images and text in notetaking, visual notetaking expands students’ classroom experience by providing them with two different ways to accessing information, doubling their chances of recall.  Visual notetaking offers benefits across all content areas and grade levels, providing students with skills they will be utilizing through college and beyond.

Something to ponder: Roughly 30 % of neurons in the brain's cortex are devoted to vision, compared with 8 %for touch, and 2 % for hearing.

Visualizing Education


Many of us limit the idea of creative thinking to the Arts.  I believe that in limiting this incredible resource to the sidelines we hamstring our children’s natural creativity and problem solving ability.  After years of successfully working with individuals, companies and organizations to help them create visions, strategies and strategic plans for themselves and their companies, I have returned to my first love, the classroom.   Having transitioned from teaching to graphic facilitation, I look forward to working with youth to develop creative thinking in all areas of their studies, from math to literacy, from science to physical education.  By giving children and young adults the power to develop an understanding of their learning and giving them the opportunity, and sometimes the task, to fail and rework an idea, we encourage them to think out of the box, problem-solve and adapt.  This will help develop more rounded, tenacious and confident individuals - ready to enter the world with a ‘can do’ attitude and a way of thinking that transforms their communities and the world around them.  Ideas Take shape partners with schools to offer students a project-based learning experience, designed, developed and executed for students by students.   By nurturing enquiring minds, supporting collaborative working and teaching how one can learn from failure, we foster active students who are ready to excel in the world.

Something to ponder:  3M Corporation maintains that the brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text.

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