Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

Blog > Lesson Ideas > Using Visual Metaphors

Using Visual Metaphors

Using pictures to help organize information and see the big ideas.

Leaps and Bounds Activity: using the visual metaphor of a staircase to chart progress.
Leaps and Bounds Activity: using the visual metaphor of a staircase to chart progress.
12 Mar 2019
Written by Gary Goodwin
Lesson Ideas

I have been using visual metaphors for some time now both with students and with colleagues in order to organize information or plan units and lessons. The metaphor of a staircase is one that I have found to be very powerful and universal. In the picture above, I have outlined an activity called “Leaps and Bounds”. For planning a unit, I have a little stick figure to represent a student. In the staircase, we can list the skills and support available to the student. Every subsequent step represents the learning activities and assessments you have planned for the student to reach the top of the staircase. The top of the staircase represents the goal or knowledge and skills you hope the student to acquire. After each stair is climbed, you can reflect on the skills and tools acquired that will help the student reach the next step. 

Using visual metaphors is extemely helpful helpful in seeing the big picture of a unit and series of lessons so that I am always conscious of what the student is doing and why the student is doing it. It Is also helpful  to use when students ask the question “why are we doing this?" 

Give this one a try and let me know how it goes.


Using Visual Metaphors Download
About the author

Gary Goodwin is an educator with experience working with primary, secondary, adult, and second language learners. He is an award-winning teacher who is passionate about the integration of technology in the classroom and has experience teaching IB at the PYP, MYP, and DP level.

Similar stories

Want more children mastering maths? We have to change attitudes among parents too

Should teachers question parents when they say they ‘can’t do maths’? Explore the significance of maths anxiety among parents and get tips to make sure all children believe i… More...

How a solution to the global teacher recruitment crisis led to two IS Awards

British School Muscat, winners of Strategic Leadership Initiative and International School of the Year at the Independen… More...

Deepening conceptual understanding by creating mathematical story picture books

Dr. Natthapoj Vincent Trakulphadetkrai explores how students could deepen their mathematical understanding by creating t… More...

Ideas for celebrating International Mother Language Day in your class

How are you celebrating International Mother Language Day this year? Here are some ideas for your classroom. More...

Debunking the ‘immersion only’ myth

Bilingual education models are impressive in theory, but they’re usually less effective in practice. What strategies c… More...

Most read

Multilingual success in your school competition shortlist

Here it is: the Multilingual success in your school global competition shortlist! Have a read and see what the applicants did! More...

Mindfulness and exam stress - webinar recording

Log in to Pearson International Schools Community to view and download the webinar recording and access resources. More...

IB DP Maths - Are we ready for the next 7 years?

Missed Ibrahim Wazir's session at the IB conference in Vienna? Here's the summary to help you to get ahead of the upcomi… More...

Share how your school promotes multilingualism for a chance to WIN up to £500 resources

Competition time! Multilingual success in your school is a global competition designed to celebrate good practice in sup… More...

10 online resources for international school teachers

From video resources and podcasts to online magazines and member associations, here are 10 online resources for busy int… More...

This website is powered by