Matthew Hagaman

Graphic Design for 21st Century Presentations
Integrated Art & Technology Curriculum


Teachers often feel prepared to help students do high-quality research, but not every teacher feels prepared to help students organize information using effective visuals.

This curriculum is meant to help general education and content-area teachers give students valuable knowledge in a small amount of class time. Each mini-lesson in this set of eight require only ten to fifteen minutes, yet give students the skills and tools they need to create communicative graphics of which they can be proud.

Each mini-lesson is presented as if part of a research and digital poster project, such as a poster produced in Microsoft Publisher or Word. However, the content of this curriculum can be easily adapted for paper posters, slide show presentations, and other forms of visual expression.

Lesson 1: Starting Strong
  Beginning with a strong title, thesis, and/or tag-line, students learn to focus their energy and attention on the most relevant research elements.

Lesson 2: An Introduction to Imagery
  As students begin research and gathering images, they learn to consider the role imagery might play in a final poster or presentation, choosing the most meaningful images using search tools.

Lesson 3: Flow of Information
  Before a layout is developed, students consider how their main ideas and details might be naturally grouped.

Lesson 4: Principles of Design
  Students use shape-based examples to consider how alignment, balance, emphasis, movement, and proportion affect design.

Lesson 5: Preliminary Sketches
  To extend the previous lesson, students practice design principles using real-world examples. They add and apply the concepts of repetition and unity as students begin sketching their own layouts.

Lesson 6: Peer Critiques
  It may be difficult for students to implement all elements of design in their initial sketches, so students are given time to solicit suggestions for improving their design mock-ups.

Lesson 7: Textual Styling
  Students enjoy choosing fun fonts, but there are a number of factors they should consider. In this short lesson, students learn to choose appropriate fonts for meaning and readability.

Lesson 8: Color and Contrast
  With posters nearing completion, students learn to use color and contrast to enhance rather than detract from the information on their poster.


You can purchase a professionally-printed copy of the full curriculum for $3.99 at 

The complete curriculum is also available as a FREE PDF.


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