This past week I introduced Creative Commons to several different grade levels. To peak their interest, rather than working off the suggested worksheets put out by Common Sense Media (PDF Whose is it anyway?), I created a Google Slides Presentation to engage them and model CARP design principles.

While the slides and images are simple, they follow basic Presentation Zen elements such as a ‘hook’ and very little text on the page. So far I’ve used this presentation in Grades 2 and Grades 5.

Using ‘Minions’ as an example, I tried to hook the audience (my G2-5 students) as we uncovered the meaning of ‘credit’ and creative ownership. I showed them the image of minions and said, “What do you think of my drawing? I came up with these characters all on my own”. Naturally, they all protested that I didn’t create those, and we discussed credit and acknowledgement for the original artists. Next I shared a drawing I did create of the Minions, and an interesting discussion ensued on whether copying an image was breaking copyright laws or not. Based on my previous research and exploration in my post “CC=Common Courtesy“, I think it falls under Fair Use for educational purposes, but I am interested in others COETAILers opinions.

In the older grades (4-5) where individual student blogs will be used to document learning, I shared this video from Common Sense Media. Hearing a fellow student discuss the importance of crediting her work, and other authors, really hit home for the students.  I found the images using the simple search feature on Google Slides, where all images are automatically listed as ‘labeled for noncommercial reuse and modification’ (I love this new feature for students, but wish we didn’t have to click the link to find the CREDIT information):

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 13.39.16
Screenshot of ‘Insert Image’ feature on Google Slides


I was also trying to model CARP design elements for students in my presentation, by keeping text consistent (repetition), using contrasting colours, aligning images and text and grouping images and text (proximity).

In a follow up lesson with grade 5s, we reviewed CC ‘best practice’ for citing and modelled this format for students:

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 13.51.17
Sample CC Sourcing for G5 Students collecting images for Recount Writing


I’ll be revisiting these classrooms over the next few weeks as they begin to create a layout for their blogs and posts, and we’ll examine the CARP Principals in more detail.

In general, since I was first introduced to Presentation Zen and CARP design principals a few years back, I really try to keep them in mind for any audience, be it students, colleagues, or conference audience. Haiku Deck is one resource I like to use as it generates CC image search based on key words, and the layouts force you to minimise text on the slide. Below are a few examples of presentations I’ve created that have addressed different audiences:

Topic: Design Principles (2014 Workshop) Audience: PYP & MYP teachers

Topic: Enhancing Early Years (ECIS 2015) Audience: ECIS Participants (Munich)

Topic: Genius Hour Club Intro  Audience: Grades 4 & 5 Students [Slides built using Haiku Deck]

Looks like CRAP

The first time I heard about CRAP (Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity) was from another Apple Distinguished Educator in the ADE Asia network, Keri-Lee Beasley. However, this memorable acronym was slightly rearranged and took on a much more visually appealing mnemonic of CARP.

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 13.46.26

Free download of CARP posters here

Her iBook “Design Secrets Revealed” has been a staple in my list of recommended eBooks for teachers to add to their personal libraries.


What I love most about this simple acronym (the fish-version in particular) is how accessible it is to students of all ages. It was brand new to teachers last year, and several implemented it with students as young as six and up through middle school.

Her iBook has student examples, simple text for readers of all ages, and a catchy intro video that all teachers could definitely relate to.

Screenshots from Design Secrets Revealed, with permission from the author.

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 14.21.54

Sample of before/after student work with suggested sites for Creative Commons images


Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 14.17.27

End of chapter Quiz

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 14.16.50

Sample page layout with video example of each design principle.

I actually used her iBook in conjunction with Presentation Zen principles in a teacher workshop I led for Primary and Middle school teachers. The workshop was titled “Keys to Keynote” :

The goal of the workshop was to introduce teachers to the multiple functions of presentation software like keynote (posters, newsletters, video-slideshows, game-based learning) while also introducing the Design Principles, which were new to the majority who attended. Teachers were thrilled to finally have something concrete to refer to when introducing these principles to students.

Until I was introduced to these resources, I really struggled to encourage students to produce quality work that met any kind of design standard. It was easy to just attribute it to their age, their inexperience, and not necessarily see the problem as something that needed to be explicitly taught. Even after I set up rubrics with some of my own teacher-created expectations, they were not effective as implementing the principles outlined by CARP (or CRAP).  I know I’m not alone in having thought this. We can only model so much until we have a clear set of ‘rules’ that we can share with students. As Keri-Lee explained in her video:

Students, like many teachers, are unaware that designers use a set of guiding principles in their work. When these principles are explicitly taught, it’s like a set of secrets have been revealed to them, and they tend to make use of the techniques in their work. ~ Keri-Lee Beasley

When I introduced it last year to my after-school Genius Hour Club, there was noticeable improvement in the layout of their presentations, and students were able to give feedback using explicit Design Principles language to guide each other.

During our first conversation, I shared an example from a former 4th grade student, and they all complimented the many different colours, the multiple fonts and the visuals.

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 14.37.43

For some reason, these are very important design elements to most elementary students. When I asked them if they could tell me what the focus and purpose of the poster was, they realised it wasn’t really clear. One student mentioned that it could be about  “Levers” since that is one of the largest words. Then they realised that it may in fact be about Simple Machines since numerous other examples were shown. I then asked if there were any images that seemed out of place or irrelevant, and they quickly picked up on the star. Before long, we’d identified several elements that made it confusing for the reader. When we discussed again why their first reaction was so positive, they all agreed that as the designer it’s fun to play with different fonts, colours, backgrounds, but it only adds confusion to the intended audience.

Ultimately, CRAP (or CARP) is a memorable way for both students and teachers to assess their own designs.