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Explore Visual Journals


What is a visual journal and how will I use it?

Students develop a clear enough understanding of the characteristics and uses of visual journaling to be able to explain their understanding to others.

Time To Complete 

1-2 hours

Content Areas 

  • ELA
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Learning Strands 

  • Reading
  • Speaking
  • Writing

I Can Statements 

I will know my exploration of visual journaling is high quality when: 

I can identify the elements that define visual journaling, such as visualizations, making connections and synthesizing, and reflecting.

Possible Activities 
  1. Group exploration: Provide several exemplars and ask students to select 2-3 to examine and create a list of similarities in structure, craft, and form. Or use a jigsaw format, where students work in groups, and each group examines examples of authentic annotation and a different exemplar. Reorganize the groups so that the new groups each have one representative from the former group, and each representative shares their learning with the others in this new group, to create a collective understanding of the forms and uses of annotation.

  2. Modeling: Model for the students how you might use a visual journal to respond to a text, image, or experience.

  3. Analysis of exemplars: Students receive or create graphic organizers with the following sections: What is included? Who would use this? How would this be helpful? Then, individually or in groups, students examine 2-4 exemplars of annotation, and complete the graphic organizers with their observations.

  4. Brainstorm with students the materials and formats that could be used to create the visual journal.


Downloadable Resources 
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