As a teacher, you want your instruction methods to appeal to every single student sitting in front of you—that’s exactly why you work so hard trying out new lesson plans at the start of every school year. For example, some students respond well to lectures, while others excel at hands-on projects. But did you know visual learners comprise 65 percent of the population?
According to the Social Science Research Network, visual learners excel when they can see what they’re learning, and students who learn from “teaching methods that complement their learning styles” experience “significantly enhanced” absorption and retention.
Here are five visual learning tools perfect for the classroom, so you can truly engage visual learners (and provide appealing visual aids every student will appreciate).
When you’re charting out lesson plans, it seems so simple: start with an underlying concept and build subsequent lessons from it all quarter or semester long. But for your students, sometimes it’s difficult to see the connection between the minutiae and the driving concept. That’s where anchor charts come in. By hanging these large-scale visuals (usually posters) in plain view and adding to them as you go, students only have to glance at the wall to see processes, guidelines, and connections clearly spelled out in front of them. Bonus: It cuts down on the need to fill your walls with frills and decorations, as your wall art will be just as functional as it is fun.
You know what’s mighty helpful for students trying to determine how certain ideas connect? Arrows. Concept maps help students organize information by starting with one concept and branching out from there using arrows to demonstrate the flow of information. A concept map is a visual way to break down anything from a scientific process like cell replication to the plot of a novel.
Words are always powerful, but they tend to be even more effective in the classroom when they leave the page and spring into motion. A word cloud generator helps create student-sourced art with words, using all the things that young learners enjoy: colors, sizing, motion and movement. Students will giggle and exclaim when they see words they contributed appear on the overhead display—all they need to chip in their two cents is a mobile device or computer. You can ask your students how they feel about certain characters, their favorite part of school, their input on your latest activity or how they would fill in a blank on a quiz. The power in this visual learning tool comes from the fact that, despite students approaching the same question differently, their answers make a unified object in the end.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the litany of dates, numbers a, d ages that accompany an average history lesson. Especially for visual learners, these numbers tend to seem less “concrete” if they’re presented orally or in a textbook. To remedy this, eLearning Industry recommends making timelines from templates. As your students cover more events, you can update these timelines to reflect their position. It’s a great way to help visual learners grasp the abstract concept of time and see how certain events relate to others.
How can you break down complex information in the classroom? After all, not every lesson can be simplified into one timeline or flowchart. Rather, you need to present textual information with a visual pop. In this case, infographics will be your best friend. Creating infographics doesn’t require an advanced design degree, either; you can “plug and play” using templates to create infographics that are as simple or complex as you need.
With these five visual learning tools perfect for the classroom, you’ll be more than ready to engage your students this year—including those who identify as visual learners.