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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.

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