103: Nonlinguistic Representations





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Research on Nonlinguistic Representations:
  • Using both linguistic and nonlinguistic (mental pictures, physical sensations, etc) modes of representation helps with better recall of knowledge
  • A variety of activities produce nonlinguistic representations:
    • creating graphic representations
    • making physical models
    • generating mental pictures
    • drawing pictures
    • engaging in kinesthetic activity
  • Nonlinguistic reps should elaborate on knowledge
    • power of elaboration can be enhanced by asking for explanations and justification
Classroom Practices:


One way to create high challenge / high support (challenge zone) classrooms is to scaffold high expectations (not lower expectations) using message abundancy, i.e. amplifying content by using multiple representations for the same content.   Using both linguistic and nonlinguistic representations of content is a way to amplify content so that students have multiple opportunities to learn it.


Preparation Steps
  • Analyze how upcoming content is organized
  • Select the nonlinguistic representations that best connect to how content is organizer
  • Gather resources / write prompts that help students organize content in graphic organizers (or other nonlinguistic representations) that explicitly illustrate how content is organized
Early Implementation Steps
  • Use nonlinguistic organizers selected above as one of a variety of scaffolding methods for key content in projects
  • Have students discuss / write about the key connections that are illustrated inside nonlinguistic representations of content
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Include an appendix in the back of students notebooks that contains commonly used graphic organizers and simple instructions that students can use to create their own graphic organizers
  • Using the graphic organizer notebook resources, have students supplement notes by selecting the graphic organizers that best illustrate the connections among information.



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