Welcome to my visualization page! (Scroll down for a full introduction on how I became fascinated with visualization.)
Visualization Basics/Why Students Struggle to Visualize:
- Visualization Basics
- Visualization & Screen Time
- Roadblocks to Visualization: Lack of Background
- Roadblocks to Visualization: Lack of Conversational Skills
- Roadblocks to Visualization: Lack of Imaginative Play
- Considering how English Language Learners Visualize Text
- Fluid Visualization vs. Single-Frame Imaging
Strategies to Improve Student’s Visualization:
- Removing Roadblocks to Visualization: Schema Building
- Gradually Releasing Students to Build their Own Background
- Tactile Materials to Help Students with Visualization Challenges
Nobody has ever been as excited as I was about a musty portable with rusty lockers. It wasn’t much to look at, but it was my first classroom and I was thrilled. I began my first year of teaching wearing rose-colored glasses. I believed that if I could be engaging enough, foster great relationships with students, and use all of my best strategies that I would be wildly successful. I came in armed with my best strategies from Lucy Calkins to Robert Marzano. I just knew by applying all my passions that every single student would be able to read on grade-level by the end of the year. Most importantly, I loved those kids as much as my 23-year-old heart could love.
Fast forward four years later. I had become a bit discouraged. I had just spent two weeks working with a small group of 5th graders who had failed the standardized testing the first time, and were being prepped to take it again. My best efforts were good enough for 83% of my students. But the other 17% had fallen behind. . Our district had provided many research based intervention programs that we had exhausted through the year.
I felt like a failure. My best wasn’t good enough. By that May, I was not the young, hopeful teacher I once was. One thing hadn’t changed, however; my 27-year-old heart loved these students as much as it could love. I could easily blame multiple environmental factors or the standardized testing. We all know there are a slew of issues with those assessments. But standard assessments aside, I knew that my best teaching had not been effective enough with these students. They needed more.
My determination and love for these kids sent me on a quest to keep digging, to try things I’d never tried. Over the next couple years, I became hyper focused on entering the minds of my struggling readers.
I wanted to get into their thoughts and see what they were seeing so I could help fill in all the holes in their comprehension. In my efforts to see “what they were seeing,” I began realizing what my kids were NOT seeing. After years of working with struggling readers, I’ve determined that a child’s ability to visualize, or lack thereof, makes a huge difference in their comprehension.
For the last few years, I have spent significant amounts of time in the spring preparing intervention lessons to prepare students to retake their standardized assessments. We spend a great deal of time focusing on visualization, and use many of the lessons and methods that you will see on this blog. I am happy to report that these strategies have yielded growth in reading comprehension.
While I was working so hard to help my students learn more deeply, they were the ones that pushed me to try new techniques and learn on deeper levels. This is for them.