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Flip Chart Tips & Tricks

Flip charts might feel a bit retro these days, but a recent survey revealed that 76% of the teachers and trainers surveyed still use them.

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of flip charts. When I record students comments, input or goals on a flip chart, they feel involved and heard.  Alternatively, if I ask my group a question and bother to get their input, but then follow up with a pre-made slide anticipating those answers, it always comes off as disingenuous, even if the content is the same.

So, go ahead and embrace the past. As you do, remember these quick pointers from seasoned some flip chart enthusiasts.

Drawing like a pro

When presenting a complex picture (or even a simple one, for non-artists like me) I simply make a transparency of the picture and project it onto the flip chart or white board, so I can trace it with pencil (on flips) or yellow marker (on white board). I can then either draw on the fly or fill it in before class starts. Either way the students think I am the best artist around!”

–Levoy Morring, Convergys

Checklist for Using Flip Charts

  • Check that you have enough paper for the amount of writing you intend to do.
  • Check that it is positioned where all the group can see it.
  • Check you have pens and that they work. Use color pens if possible.
  • Write legibly, i.e., large, clear writing.
  • Use headings, and subheads as appropriate.
  • Take your time when writing.
  • Plan what you are going to write.
  • Ask for a “scribe” to record notes, while you focus on facilitating
  • When not needed as visual support, turn to a blank sheet.
  • Watch your spelling.
  • Drawing etc. can be prepared invisibly in light (yellow) pen and filled in during presentation.

–Carolyn B. Thompson, Training Systems, Inc.

1 thought on “Flip Chart Tips & Tricks”

  1. Alicia Graham says:

    (Aside: Most military and government are taught to call these “newsprint.” )
    – Not just the drawing, but information can be lightly penciled in on the side margins to ensure you cover all your points “spontaneously.”
    – Preframe your work (Draw a complimentary color around the paper – or use an applicable design ex: paw prints when discussing animals). Then, when you attach it to the wall, the students’ eyes are better drawn to the information.
    – Regular rules apply: 5-9 items on a page; 5-9 words in an item.
    – Use no more than three colors.
    – I award a prize (small candy bar or fidget toy) to anyone who catches a misspelling. That way, the students are watching every word I write (newsprint OR dry-erase).
    – To avoid the “leaning line” when I cannot afford the lined newsprint, I created a paper with heavy lines that I place underneath the sheet I am writing on. Loose papers are held in place with binder clips.
    – I have white masking tape to quickly cover errors, so I do not have to write the whole sheet over and the mistake is not distracting.
    – For pre-written newsprint, use peek-a-boo windows where the key words are already there, you have just covered them with a heavier sheet. (I attach the hook side of velcro on the newsprint to another hook side on the covering sheet. It does not tear apart and is easier to pull away to reveal.)

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