“This is cool; why don’t you teach a class on this?”

So many great ideas out there, and so many people interested!  The trick is mixing and matching it just right; selecting classes where there is enough interest, the right timing, and the perfect balance of fun, relaxing, simple and inexpensive.  For fun, let’s walk through an example of selecting a class (one that I’m actually not considering at this time).

CZT Jerryann Haggart did a fun class at the MAC back in 2015 – creating and tangling an icosahedron. Here’s a photo of the one I did.  Essentially you cut out a template, tangle on the 20 sides and assemble the object into a tangled paper icosahedron. So what if I take this icosahedron idea and think – wouldn’t that make a cool class?


  1.  See a cool idea – hey, what about an Icosahedon class?
  2.  Try it out for myself. I’d actually make an Icosahedron like the one I saw. Here’s what I’d consider:
    • Was it fun to do? Did it take a ton of time?
    • Would it be fairly simple for students to do? (what’s the skill level required?)
    • Did it take a lot of materials?
    • Was it ‘zen’ enough for me? (a mindful exercise, not stressful)
    • What is the Zentangle spin on this – does it present a technique or tip that would be useful in other tangling?
    • Is this something you could do again after taking the class?
    • Can you take this and do different things with it? (other tangles, other applications) – is there room to have fun with the idea?
    • Can it be taught in 3 hours? (or is it a longer-term project?)
    • Would this appeal to enough people?
  3. Then if I still liked the idea, I’d do some research:
    • Are there other examples I can study? Who else has done them – any photos I can look at?
    • Are there other ways can this be done? Could you do other shapes – make it smaller for an ornament?
    • What tangles could I use to teach this? (I like to have a number of possibilities)
    • Is there a kit or lesson plan I can buy or ask to share?  I always ask permission before teaching someone else’s class idea.
    • What’s the focus or angle I want to take in teaching the class?


Every CZT has their own criteria and their own preference for teaching classes.   My current preference is for classes that:

      • are accessible for all levels of skill (Zentangle Basics the only prerequisite)
      • can be taught within my framework of  $47.50 for 3 hours, all materials included parameters
      • fit within my ‘first Saturday of the month’ calendar.
      • are either Basics, or FUNdamental (further Zentangle skills) or ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art)

We’re lucky to have two wonderful CZTs who love to teach 1 day and 2-day workshops in my area, to complement the class offerings I have. This means local students can stretch their wings with different instructors and different opportunities like Tangle Island and occasional 1-day workshops and I’m confident that there is enough choice for everyone.


So now I’ve chosen a class to add to my calendar.  What now?

      1. Choose the name of the class
        • Sometimes I use the same name as the class lesson, sometimes I make it my own. Let’s call this one “Intriguing Icosahedrons”
      2. Figure out when in the calendar it would fit.
        • I like to set up classes by season, starting with a Basics class, then a follow up (fundamentals) style class (like shading) and a ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art) class for cool projects.
        • Are there holidays in the season that would fit well with the class? (Do I want to teach a Valentine icosahedron class with Valentine’s type tangles? – a ZIA class) Hmm…. Valentangle Icosahedrons?
        • Are there other offerings like Tangle Island or another CZT in that season?  I would try to keep the date from competing with these offerings.
        • Would enough interested people be able to fit this into their schedule?
      3. Do up prototypes
        • I make lots of examples and choose the ones that are going to be the samples on the flyers, online registration, website, etc. I need the image before I can announce the class because people will want to know what the project/class sample will look like.
      4. Get the word out
        • I usually start about 3 months before the class and announce on my website, flyers, Facebook, online registrations, etc. I like to plan classes by season which means I need to know all 3 class offerings to this stage before I proceed.
      5. Make a list of class materials
        • It needs to be affordable and fairly simple. What can I add/take out for a nice little package of goodies?
        • Then I need to purchase enough to create 8 sets – nothing worse than scrambling for materials at the last minute, so best to order in advance. That’s why I limit class size and set a registration deadline; sometimes I have to send away for materials.
      6. Write out the lesson plan
        • Even if there is a prepared lesson plan, I like to actually walk through it as if I were teaching it. I make notes of what to include or change in the lesson – or what to remember to say. I customize it to my students and my teaching style and what I want to emphasize about Zentangle in these classes. And sometimes I create the lesson from scratch.
      7. Prepare packages and teaching materials
        • About a week before the class I go through everything again, make any last minute adjustments and prepare any class materials and assemble teaching equipment and materials. This gives me time to make sure I’ve got everything we need for the class and all the arrangments are made.

Once I teach the class (and assuming it’s successful) it will usually go into my roster of classes available for private or semi-private lessons, and classes I will teach again in the future.  The exception would be if the class materials are of a limited variety – a one-time thing.

There’s always something new to tempt me to teach a fun new class.  At the moment I have at least 45 class possibilities in my ‘class ideas’ folder, some of which require more research and experimentation.  As for 2019, I have the Winter class schedule set, and I’m developing 4 more class ideas as well.  With every new idea winging by, I take a look, decide whether to bump a ‘future class idea’ or just put it in my folder for eventual use.  That’s why I like to be cagey and say I haven’t decided on Spring classes – not completely.  What will I include? Fandalas, Articulated Molygon, String Theory, 3Z Stars, Soil & Silhouettes, Impressed Lines, Tangled Tiny Houses….

And who knows what’s out there for me to discover between now and February?