Literacy 7-12

Systems Change
Literacy 7-12 > Strategies > Creating Visuals

Creating Visuals


When students express information visually, they are activating more cognitive processes while problem solving and increasing their experience with alternate texts. Artistic expression allows learners to exhibit what they know in ways that respect their out of school literacies and Background Knowledge, increasing Motivation and retention of information. Creating artistic representations of knowledge helps learners fully immerse themselves in content knowledge and allows teachers to differentiate instruction to reach their learners.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how this high school history teacher uses visual storytelling to reinforce student understanding of historical concepts. Students are given examples and are expected to create a script and storyboard to guide their projects. They create and manipulate paper images to explain different historical concepts. Starting at 6:57, the video breaks down how to physically set up this project with students and culminates with the finished product.

  • Teachers can include visual literacy components in their lessons, showing students different representations of content and inspiring subsequent creation. Student activities in response to texts and lessons can include comic strips, infographics, and posters to represent understanding. These representations allow students to draw upon their understanding of Emotion and Disciplinary Literacy to represent their understanding in a visual manner. Teachers can also have students create visuals to support Vocabulary development, including student-created word walls.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    See how Google drawings can be used to create visuals individually and collaboratively. Teachers can build interactive assignments that involve visual responses. Students can also visually depict their understanding by drawing things like mind maps, infographics, and diagrams with the provided shapes and images.

  • Developers can create platforms with digital tools to allow students to create original visual representations of content through a variety of media. This can include having students create online pictorial storyboards, comic strips, and other visual-based media. This supports student Attention and allows learners to explore their creative thinking and bring their ideas to life, while also supporting digital and media literacy.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy