Last week on the Fine Focus webinar we discussed infographic creation tools

An initial poll revealed that as a group our usage was low with no-one using them more than rarely.

When we explore tools during the webinars we have only a limited time to try the tools so it provides a good test for usefulness in a teaching situation. Anything that takes a long time to join and/or to pick up the basic use is not really practical for use with students. This is because if it takes too long for students to learn then learning the tech can become more significant in the “lesson” than the learning objectives.We had four tools to explore – everyone chose a tool and went away to spend 10 minutes exploring. We then shared our opinions and ideas.

Because we generally felt we needed a bit more time this week we gave ourselves some homework – to make an infographic to share at the start of the upcoming Serendipity session.

Gail Poulin had mentioned that she would like to use the infographic creator to make a wall chart which recorded the success rate of her U.S. kindergarten class in learning 25 high frequency words.
“There are 25 high frequency words that students must know by the end of K

I recheck frequently and I would like to share a visual tool to help them grab on to what it actually looks like when they are successful, both as individual learners and as a class.”
Some of us chose to work on Gail’s brief for our homework.

The four infographic creation tools we considered during the webinar were



During the session I looked at Infogram and that was the first tool I attempted to use to make the chart for Gail.

I found a PDF of the 25 High Frequency words at


I inserted these words into a bar graph data chart in Infogram but until actual data is included the preview shows up as blank.
Also this graph would show how many of the students could spell the word correctly but would not tell which students were correct. A possible remedy for this would be to use the table graph option and plot student’s name directly against the word. The overall success of the class would be seen by how many ticks were shown.




However in the end I decided not to use Infogram but to revert to drawing up a wall chart using Paint and the maths manipulatives from Math Playground

I assumed a class of 20 students and used the Percent Relationships program to turn the numbers into percentages and a bar graph and a pie chart.


Then I used MS Paint turn the 20 segment pie charts into flowers with a word in the centre and then made a wall frieze containing all 25 flowers. The students’ names can be written in the segments of the word flowers or each student can have their own colour to colour a segment of the flower as they master the word. Or a separate colour can be used for each flower and the number of segments shaded will show how many of the students have mastered the word without identifying which students.


Here are the three panels which make up the wall chart




And here is what the complete chart looks like


I was very satisfied with the resulting wall chart but feeling a bit sheepish that I had not used the Infographics program to create it.

However, when we all displayed our homework I found that I was not the only one who had used a different program.
Jo Hart had made the same chart with two different programs and placed them side by side on a slide. She asked us to write under the charts which one we preferred and why we liked the one we chose. We were unanimous in our choice of the chart on the right hand side of the screen because it was brighter, clearer, easier to read and the graphics were better. Jo then disclosed that the left hand infographic was created in and she made the right hand one with Power Point.

This disclosure led to general agreement that often we are able to accomplish better results using older, simpler but more familiar tools than we can with some of the newly released ones.


I have just found out that Gail is using Fountas and Pinnell Reading High-Frequency Words: 25 Words list which I found at

So here are the three panels and composite wall frieze for the Fountas and Pinnell list Note these flowers have different coloured centres so that that can be distinguished from the previous set.





An answer for Penny Bentley

The Facing IT group on Facebook!/groups/facingit/  is an open group managed by Australian educators for anyone facing up to the challenges of using information technologies for communicating, teaching and learning.


I have found the group very helpful and encouraging particularly when group members are participating in online courses and sharing the learning and the problems encountered.

I have  received helpful advice about how to create canvas textured images and which browser is most useful for certain tasks.
So I was really delighted when Penny Bentley addressed this question to me


The first part of the question was easily answered



Then I noticed the phrase ‘using a persona’ and felt I needed to qualify my answer


I am not sure whether it could be said that I use a persona. I write as myself but I illustrate Sprite’s Site blog with a cast of characters with whom I interact. The main character is Sprite a student who is both gifted and also has some form of learning disability or difference. Sprite is described here and the other characters are described here
Or is there another meaning of the term persona that I have not yet encountered?


After that the exercise became even more complex!

I read Penny’s excellent blog post at

I watched the video clip and suddenly realised that the Dabrowski Dogs (except Psycho Motor, who was off somewhere bouncing and barking,) were watching it with me. The presentation certainly engaged my senses and emotions as well as my intellect and made the explanation of the mathematics behind the video at  so much more meaningful.


I had a brief look at the 17 page PDF found at

And I stalled for time for commenting and answering the question



I provided a link to a collection of Education topics on Gifted Resources website which could be useful particularly the maths and science lists


But I was not really sure whether that was the type of information Penny was seeking. Was she looking for sites which offered inspiring video clips like the one she had posted or sites which contained a wealth of information about mathematics and science? Did she want interactive maths manipulatives? Would infographics creators be useful? Would she like some examples of programs or did she only want the materials for building her own course?


With Intellectual and Imaginational Dabrowski now playing tug-of war with the question and pulling it towards many variations of answers  I wondered whether I should include some references which I thought might be interesting?/relevant?/ maybe provide a springboard  for her such as World builders

I wondered whether she would be interested in the Abundance: Count your blessings program I wrote for church school which used nature videos to start discussions about vast numbers in nature on every scale from the tiny to the immense (It can be found about half way down the page at  )


The second part of Penny’s question had me reaching for the mindmap program.


My answer would be that in general gifted students thrive on material that is at a higher level and delivered at a faster pace and greater depth and with fewer repetitions than the average student of their age.

However I would also say that gifted students are not a homogenous group
George Betts and Maureen Neihart have compiled and recently revised Profiles of the Gifted and Talented

As well as different levels of giftedness they can have different learning styles and preferences, different sources of motivation, differing levels of autonomy in their learning and differing degrees of creativity and innovation.

The Columbus Group Definition of Giftedness

Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counselling in order for them to develop optimally.
(The Columbus Group, 1991)

Bearing in mind the Columbus Group definition of giftedness as asynchronous development and heightened sensitivity I would add that teaching which engaged gifted students senses, emotions, imaginations and spirituality would be particularly effective.

I am not sure whether that answers the question!

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum


The Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF) supports gifted homeschoolers in the United States and around the world through education, advocacy, community and support. GHF was founded by Corin Barsily Goodwin in 2004 to address a growing need for support and advocacy
GHF is served by the Board of Directors Corin Barsily Goodwin, Executive Director, Debbie Schwarzer, General Counsel, Anne Beneventi, Professional Outreach Coordinator, Eleen Kamas, PhD, Recording Secretary and Josh Shaine
It has a team of advisors and staff Mika Gustavson, Director, GHF Professionals, Tara Hernandez, Membership Director, Rebecca McMillan, Director of Online Education (GHF Online), Sarah Wilson, Editor-in-Chief, GHF Press, Wes Beach, Teen Advisor, Stephanie Hood, Charter/ISP Advisor, Martha Shaindlin, Marketing Manager, Cyd Dawson-Smith, Webmaster, Rev. Mona Chicks, Membership, Madeline Goodwin, General Assistant, Annette Holzman, Tax Manager, Carissa Leventis-Cox, Regional Contacts Coordinator and J. Marlow Schmauder, Professional Outreach.

The goals of GHF are:

  • to link interested families with information and resources regarding educating a gifted child outside the traditional school system
  • to provide gifted homeschoolers with the opportunity to network and exchange ideas and resources
  • to increase awareness of homeschooling as a viable educational alternative for gifted children
  • to advocate for gifted homeschoolers as needed
  • to network with other education-related entities in support of these goals

Their website can be found at

They provide excellent lists of resources

Resources relating to giftedness

Resources relating to homeschooling

Resources relating to Twice Exceptional (2E)

Collection of articles

GHF Online Courses
Gifted Homeschoolers Forum also provides outstanding and engaging online courses tailored to the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional students.
The semester or year-long courses are aimed at upper middle and high school level students. GHF Online is 2e friendly and is willing to work with families to make reasonable accommodation for the student’s individual needs.

Courses for 2013

GHF Courses were discussed during a #GTCHAT session and the review can be read at New Online Courses at Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

GHF Press

GHF Press, created by Gifted Homeschoolers Forum gathers and shares information specific to the gifted and twice-exceptional community. They publish Perspectives In Gifted Homeschooling Series


Making the choice: When typical school does not fit your atypical child by Corin Barsily Goodwin and Mika Gustavson

A guidebook for parents considering homeschooling, Making the Choice discusses how to balance the emotional and academic needs of gifted and 2e children, their parents, and their families. In Making the Choice, Corin Barsily Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, and Mika Gustavson, MFT, demystify and de-mystify some of the perceived barriers to homeschooling. For those families wondering if this is an option they should consider, Making the Choice offers ideas, guidance, and encouragement to fully evaluate the option.

I am currently enjoying reading this book and intend to write a review shortly


Forging Paths: Beyond Traditional Schooling by Wes Beach

Traditional schooling may not provide your son or daughter with a satisfactory or fulfilling education. In Forging Paths: Beyond Traditional Schooling, you’ll read the stories of nine young people who took varying, nontraditional educational paths and succeeded in their chosen endeavors and vocations. Wes Beach, director of an unusual private high school, speaker, and author, prompts you to reconsider the idea that any highly successful career path must involve piling up gold stars in high school to gain immediate admission to a prestigious university in order to earn a degree which can cost more than most people earn in a year. Discover how passion, persistence, creativity and perseverance can lead to a life of satisfaction and even some traditional achievements!

I have received a copy of Wes Beach’ book and intend to write a review shortly


If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?:Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice Exceptional by Jen Merrill

Jen Merrill, author of the Laughing at Chaos blog, brings laughter, tears, and honesty to her latest book by GHF Press,If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice Exceptional. Join Jen on her journey through discovery, understanding, and acceptance, as she copes with the challenges that only the gifted and twice exceptional can create. So, pull up a chair, pour a glass of wine, and start reading. You’ll swear Jen’s written about you!

I enjoyed reading Jen’s book and intend to post a review shortly

Jen discussed her book on #gtchat and the review of the session can be read at
If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?



Learning in the 21st Century: How to connect, collaborate and create by Ben Curran and Neil Weatherbee

The world has transformed on an epic scale, but education has barely budged. How can you incorporate all the creativity technology has to offer into your learning experiences, even if your technological abilities are limited? How can online tools help students, especially gifted and twice-exceptional students, connect with others from around the block or around the world to collaborate on projects?

Ben Curran and Neil Weatherbee of Engaging Educators give you step-by-step instructions to get you started using technology in your learning experiences. Discover new online tools geared toward collaborating and creating. Try out projects specifically designed with these tools in mind. Create a positive and interesting online portfolio to share with college recruiters and potential employers.

Regardless of educational choice, Learning in the 21st Century: How to Connect, Collaborate, and Create will fill you with ideas and inspiration that will revolutionize how you approach learning.

I hope to read and review this book soon.

This book was discussed during a recent #GTCHAT with Ben Curran and Neil Weatherbee of ENGAGING ED and the review of the session can be read at