Non-Linguistic Representations


Non-Linguistic Representations enhance students' ability to represent and elaborate on knowledge using mental images.

Research studies have shown that student-generated Non-linguistic representations can be more powerful than teacher-generated or clip-art because students engage visual as well as verbal and written language, and students engage in hands-on, active learning.
Allowing the students to learn by using imagery, will increase their ability to think about, recall and have a better understanding of the new information.
The non-linguistic form is the imagery mode of representation; primarily mental pictures and physical sensations.

How can we use Non-linguistic Representation in classrooms?

Non-linguistic Representation can be practiced in classrooms in many forms, which include:

  • creating graphic representations through organizers
  • making physical models
  • generating mental pictures
  • drawing pictures and pictographs
  • engaging in kinesthetic activities

Graphic Organizers:

Marzano suggests using the following types of graphic organizers because they are the six most common patterns in organizing information.

1- Descriptive patterns - represent facts about specific persons, places, things, and events. The information in a descriptive organizer does not need to be in any particular order.

images.jpgExample: Description of the Mountain Lions.

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2- Time-sequence patterns - organize events in a specific chronological order.



3- Process/cause-effect patterns - organize information into a casual network leading to a specific outcome

or into a sequence of steps leading to a specific product.


Causes of the United States involvement in World War I

The water cycle

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4- Episode patterns - organize information about specific events including a setting, people,

a specific duration,a sequence of events, and a cause and effect, including (1) a setting (time and place), (2) specific people, (3) a specific duration, (4) a specific sequence of events,

and (5) a particular cause and effect.

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5- Generalization/principle patterns - organize information into general statements with supporting examples.

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6- Concept patterns - organize information around a word or phrase that represents entire classes or categories

of persons, places, things and events.

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Physical Models:

Physical models are concrete representations of the knowledge that is being learned.

The very act of generating a concrete representation establishes an “image” of the knowledge in students' minds.

Making a volcano model is a very good example of hand-on activities for kids,

to get a better understanding of the volcano process.

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Mental Pictures:

Visualizing is an important strategy students need to use when reading or learning new content. Using digital cameras, MovieMaker, United Streaming, KidPix, Inspiration and Kidspiration are a few resources to help students create mental images by stimulating their thinking.

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Pictures and Pictographs

Some ways students can use drawing pictures and creating pictographs to enhance their learning are:

  • illustrate a process (life cycles, writing process, solve an equation, science concept, government process, etc.)

  • create a story web

  • make a map

  • create pictographs for math

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Kinesthetic Activities

A mental picture is created in a student's mind when they use role play with physical movement. Creating movies with video and still digital photos reinforces the mental picture as students view them over and over again. Teachers can use software programs such as MovieMaker and PhotoStory to create movies.

Some examples includes:

  • Math manipulative

  • Body math (illustrate angles, geometric shapes, multiplication, ordinal numbers, etc.)

  • Role-playing historical events or story events

  • A Living Alphabet

  • Illustrate science concepts (earth cycles, food chains, weather, etc.)

  • Claymation

  • Acting out reader's theaters

Iskra Sanchez

Non-Linguistic Representations

Marzano's Strategies