CARPe DIEM- Seize the Design!

During course one, I had a little go at revamping my blog. I wish I had some screenshots of the very original site, but alas, I did not have that much forethought. These are some screenshots of what my blog looked like at the end of Course 2. Along with my self-reflection.











Contrast- Poor, the images on my posts stand out, but the headers, sidebar, and menu do not have enough contrast.
Repetition- Ok, the site has a certain flow to it, the template enables this.
Alignment- To text heavy! Not enough text features!
Proximity- Could be better. Having two menus is cumbersome and unnecessary.

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 8.24.52 AM
Contrast- Good! The dark background with makes the information on the page ‘pop’.
Repetition-Good, the site controls most of this, but I could do a better job within my posts.
Alignment-Could use improvement within the posts. Text heavy.
Proximity-Good, there is now one menu bar and the side bar is purposeful and not to0 busy.

Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 8.50.36 PM

I’m pleased with the new layout, but in looking at my final Course 2 post, it’s way too text heavy. In his article, Lazy Eyes- How We Read Online, Michael Agger demonstrates how they key elements to help ensure you grab your reader’s attention and keep them reading. The page is too text heavy, my reader’s eyes will drift before my writing has the chance to bore them.

The Revamp:

Before CRAP

Before CRAP

Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 9.47.44 PM

After CRAP

VOILA! With a few, quick and easy modifications, my reader is more likely to leave my page from DISinterest instead of DIStraction.

If you’re still reading, my new understanding of CARP must be working.

Overall, I think it’s better, but I still have some work to do to make this site my own. I would like to make it more personalized by changing the header to a class picture. I want to use a class photo, but to protect the students’ identity, I am going to have them write their Genius Hour question on a poster and hold the photo in front of their faces. I also have Theme Builder on my blog now and I am excited to see how I can make my site more my style. More to come!

I am really enjoying using Google Classroom this year. My biggest complaint about Classroom is that the author does not have control in how each post looks. The links and attachments are all at the bottom and the font is small, and very ‘high school’ looking. As an elementary teacher, I would love to be able to make the font more kid friendly. Google.. can you hear me?

Some ‘fixes’ I’ve found that work for me, is using Google Slides to house the resources I want to use for the lesson. This gives me control over the design layout of the content and helps keep my students engaged. It also has really helped to flip the classroom, because the students have full access to all of the lesson resources and can preview/review what they want when they want.

Screen Shot 2017-02-04 at 8.50.48 AM

Moving forward I would like to introduce CARP to my students and help them learn how to include elements of CARP into their own work. Some upcoming projects include:

  • Genius Hour Projects
  • Nonfiction articles
  • Agents of Cange Exhibition
  • Netherlands Museum Walk

There aren’t a whole lot of quality, kid-friendly videos out there to help explain CARP to kids, but I thought this one got the message across and is a good launch pad. YouTube Preview Image

Jennifer Byrnes

My name is Jen and this is my 10th year as an educator. I am a fourth-grade teacher at the American School of the Hague. I have lived and worked in the US, Uk, Italy, China and the Netherlands. I have taught grades K-4.

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2 Responses

  1. What a great start to Course 3, Jennifer! I especially like the purposeful changes you made to your final project and how it clearly demonstrates the power of simplicity, giving space and separation to elements in the writing. Your blog before/after comparison also serves as a carefully planned and implemented process of design decisions.

  2. Jason Graham says:

    Jennifer, I get where your coming from. In fact my own site needs a major rework after looking at the other very visually appealing ones out there that my colleagues have. I guess Brandon states, finding meaning and purpose for how you set up the design and what you want to communicate is important. Its all in the message you want to communicate.

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