Tentative schedule: Tuesday Oct. 24, 1-2:30pm


Description for website:

Time to put pen to paper and do some sketching in an icon jam! No drawing expertise needed for this activity (stick figures are fantastic!). We will explore how visualizing concepts through creating icons can help us understand those ideas in new ways, discuss how sketching activities might be used in other teaching and learning contexts, and consider the broader pedagogical benefits of us (and our students) of stepping outside of our comfort zones.


  1. Introduction to the session (10 mins)

  1. Icon jam activity (40 mins)

  1. Brief intro to why doing this--don’t give too much away b/c it comes out in the discussion afterwards (3 mins)

  1. Show noun project website to give a sense of what “icons” are (2 mins)
  1. You are going to have 30 secs to draw an icon; Rajiv and I each throw one to each other and we have 30 secs--show vulnerability and how doesn’t have to be nice

  1. Generate a list of concepts that we’ll all be drawing icons for (5 mins)
  1. Discuss in pairs or threes: concepts related to creativity, or teaching & learning, or open, or other related things--could be that you think of concepts that are prominent for you from your participation in this TRU thing the last 1.5 days
  2. Then choose one or two to share out to big group; each smaller group gets to choose at least one
  3. Depending on how many groups there are, we’ll end up with 4-6 concepts (think about timing to figure out how many max we should have)

  1. 30 secs (?) to draw each icon--do this individually, on separate cards (if 6 icons, then 3 mins; but leave 5 for this); could do first round or two 45 secs, then the rest 30 secs
  1. Ideally have different coloured cards so all drawings of concept 1 are on one colour, etc. Makes it easier to sort later
  2. Important to have little time to draw because the point is to just get the idea into visual form, not to make really pretty drawings

  1. Gallery walk & discussion (15 mins)
  1. Put all icons of same idea together; people walk and look at each idea’s icons.
  2. Can stop and talk about each one:
  1. What similarities do you see?
  2. Are there any that stand out as different from the rest?
  3. Any you find particularly interesting or surprising? That spark new ideas for you?
  1. Encourage ppl to photograph and tweet what they find interesting/valuable

  1. Come back and talk about the possible value of this activity (5 mins)
  1. Did you get anything new about these ideas from the drawings that you might not have gotten otherwise?
  2. Can you see any way to use this kind of activity, or anything related to sketching, in your own teaching and learning practice?

  1. Wrap up (10mins)

  1. Discussion of how ppl tend to feel discomfort sketching (or even more with physical movements like dancing)...relate to discomfort with open pedagogy (Rajiv)

  1. Dance element

  1. Get into groups of the same number of people as the concepts drawn in icons
  2. Each person take one of the concepts and turn it into a movement; then extends that movement to 4 counts (half a bar); teach this to the rest of the group
  3. The group stitches the movements together to create 16 counts (2 bars) representing their ideas translated into movement
  4. The group rehearses their two bars of choreography
  5. Choreography of whole group:
  1. the whole group learns some intro and ending movements to a song, together
  2. In the middle, each group does their choreographed group movements (in sequence)
  3. Put it all together: all together does the intro movements, then the groups do their movements (twice), then all together do the ending movements. And voila--an icon dance!