A New Look

Image from Halacious on Unsplash.

It’s exciting to get back to COETAIL after a long summer break! The beginning of the school year is always a busy time, but I have been looking forward to getting back to learning with COETAIL. This year I moved up to Grade 4 from Grade 2. I am enjoying the change and feeling pretty blessed about the fact that we get to be learning in school rather than doing remote learning.

Learning about CARP

When I read the assignment for this week, I immediately thought about a presentation I attended at the 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong with Tanya LeClair a few years ago. The presentation was titled “Digital Design Skills for Students.” During this presentation, Tanya introduced the CARP Design Principles. These were simple and easy ways students could lift the level of their presentations. At the time, my second graders were learning how to use Google Slides. Tanya’s presentation was one that stuck with me and also helped me transform how I taught students to put together a presentation.

                CARP DESIGN PRINCIPLES                              Design by Kelly Bisogno


Ever since I attended Tanya’s presentation, I have tried to incorporate the CARP Design Principles into my own work. Using contrasting colors and fonts really help the headings stand out from the text. I like to use one font for the heading and another for the text. This also helps readers find information faster.


Using a color wheel is helpful when deciding what colors go well together.                              Image by Greg Altmann from Pixabay.

Taking into consideration the design principles of using contrasting fonts and colors, I made a few changes. First, I wanted to add some color so I changed the background from black to a mint green color. I really liked the pop of color. Then I relied on the color wheel to help me decide on a contrasting color for some of the fonts. I ended up using a mint color for the headings, black as the main color, and fuchsia for the links. Then I changed the font type and size of the headings for those to stand out more.

Take a look at the results!

Before picture of my blog with mostly black and white font and color.
An after look at the front page of my blog. I’ve added some color to help the headings and links stand out.


I like how my blog is simple and easy to navigate. I enjoy having some white space and a clean look. For this reason, I didn’t change too much else on my page. In a few places, I noticed some formatting things that did not follow the use of repetition.  For example, I had written “Course 1-Ourselves as Learners” as a page title, but wrote “Course 3: Visual Literacy” as the new course heading. I simply made sure I always used a dash instead of a colon. Small things like that make the page look cleaner and more professional when they all repeat the same pattern.

When looking for repetition on my page, I noticed the use of                        the dash and the colon. I needed to change that.

Alignment and Proximity

I’ve been adding the horizontal line in this post. That’s new. I like how it breaks up the page a bit by topic along with the headings, which keep everything organized.

I also align my images in the center of the page, along with the captions. Although, I do find it difficult to format everything the way I want it to be using WordPress. Sometimes, I cannot get the caption centered with the photo. It drives me crazy!

Working with WordPress is not always that user-friendly for me, so I find that I don’t mess around with as many design elements. I try to keep my layout simple and clean with a few images that add to my post.


Whether you are using the CARP Design Principles or the 6 principles of visual hierarchy, I think it is important to have fun while designing. Play with color, fonts, and design until you see what you like (but also keeping the design principles in mind).

Model the design principles in your own work so that students see your own design habits. I was able to teach my second graders the 4 Basic Design Principles as seen in the poster above. You could even give your students a poorly designed poster and have them redesign it using the Design Principles. This is a fun way to practice!

I thought this COETAIL 12 sign was a fun addition to the top of my blog post. The colors fit well too.


Author: Andrea Goodrich

I am an international educator working in Hanoi, Vietnam. I have been working overseas for the past 13 years. I started my career in a bilingual school in Guayama, Puerto Rico as a fifth and sixth-grade reading teacher. Then I moved to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and taught fourth grade for two years. While living in Ecuador, I met my husband and we moved to Seoul, South Korea together. In Seoul, I taught fifth grade for two years and then moved into a literacy specialist role. We are now teaching in Hanoi, Vietnam with our two Korean rescue dogs.

5 thoughts on “A New Look”

  1. We are excited to have you back, Andrea! Your re-design is fantastic. The splash of colour and the way that you have applied the CARP principles to your blog make it zing…it’s minty fresh!

  2. Hi Andrea!
    I love the new look. The splash of turquoise is lovely!
    I also love reading different perspectives about CARP. It is one of my favourite things to use with students (I also teach grade 4) about design when they are publishing or creating presentations.

    In Studio 4 last year, we used Keynote to create posters for our Sharing the Planet unit. 5 of these posters were published at the front of our school. We used CARP with the students to guide their designs for publishing in a real world context. Originally they were going to have open-range on any tool, but because the posters are large we decided on forcing them to use Keynote only… and this turned out to be an AMAZINGLY beautiful design challenge for them. You can see the photos at the bottom of this post, if you want to. http://innovativeinquirers.weebly.com/my-coetail-blog/course-2-week-1-respect-the-remix

    1. Thanks Cindy. I checked at your Keynote project as well. Then I saw your “Labeled for Reuse” video resource too. Super helpful too!

      Are you a Grade 4 classroom teacher? I moved to 4th from 2nd and I am loving it so far! I look forward to sharing more ideas.

  3. Hi Andrea! I like the changes you made. I like the color and the horizontal lines. In addition, your suggestion to refer to the color wheel for contrasting colors is a great reminder. One item that popped out at me is the image you added at the top with the circle and 12. I really like it and I want to steal it! Symmetry sits well with my eye and I wonder if you had considered making your title, “Andrea’s COETAIL journey” two lines or make the image as large as your title so it doesn’t hang out further towards the middle than the image? Thanks for letting me reply to your blog! -Holly

    1. Hi Holly! Thanks for your comments. I would definitely consider making those changes, but I don’t know-how. Haha! Would I need to change the theme? When I try to edit the title and any of the things that were designed in the “theme,” I don’t see how I can customize it. I’ll have to play around some more. Thanks for the ideas!

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