Low Tech, High Visual English Lessons

If you follow this blog at all, you know that I LOVE using technology in the classroom, but today I want to share some of my favorite  low tech  teaching strategies.  I am a terrible artist, but I find a lot of benefit in drawing as we read. Students remember my silly drawings and they gets sense of the big picture of the literature. I require note taking in my class and my students usually love taking these notes and invariably, they are so much better than me.

Drawing our way through English: 



My mythology unit begs for a map through the journey!  As we work our way through the Iliad, Aeneid, and Odyssey we can make connections and see the relationship between gods and humans. We can trace repercussions and retaliation to untangle the twisted web.  I usually draw this on my board as we go and by the end of the unit, it takes up all of my walls! 


This basic outline of the characters of TKAM is helpful when guiding students through the first few chapters.  Having this on the board helps students to put it all together for the rest of the novel. 




This character map of Ethan Frome is most helpful as a review at the end of the novel.  Before delving into the symbolism of the cat and the dish, I like to make sure that students have the basics down. 




Lord of the Flies is such a fun novel to unfold.  I usually draw the island from the beginning and add details as the novel goes on.  Some years, I’ve had student volunteers add details for each reading assignment and I am always amazed at their perceptive reading!


No reading of Slaughterhouse Five could end with an easy  linear mind map, but I love creating a visual with quotes that can help reveal the deeper truth behind the madness.  

Even though I am quite possibly one of the worst artists ever, I love to map out our reading and I find that students engage in the process well. What do you think?  Do you or would you try this with your students?  Leave us a comment below.


7 thoughts on “Low Tech, High Visual English Lessons

  1. I love this! I’m a visual learner, so this make so much sense to me. I remember visually, too, so I could see how students with similar characteristics would find the images incredibly helpful before, during, and after reading.


  2. Love these. I ‘draw’ all the time and make my classes laugh when I say “There’s a reason I’m an English teacher, not an Art teacher…” while I sketch some idea on the board with wonky stick figures, BUT it works! I’m very visual but it definitely helps my classes understand a text and remember key points. I love your drawings.


  3. Thank you! My daughter has been trying to work out what’s going on in the Iliad and is thoroughly lost. This should help quite a bit. btw i don’t think Paris dies in the story; and Hera offers kingship over Europe & Asia, while Athena offers wisdom & skill in war (from Wikipedia). I wish I had found your Mockingbird diagram last year. Excellent stuff. Thanks for sharing.
    Do you take requests?


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