Visual Thinking

Am I a visual thinker? I think maybe I am… a little bit.  I just finished reading chapter one of Dr. Temple Grandin’s, Thinking in Pictures. I have never thought of myself as a visual thinker but I think I fall back on it when I am trying to make sense of something that is abstract to me. For example, a few weeks ago I was working on creating a graphic that explained my PKM. I knew what other’s looked like, but I wanted mine to have a visual image that showed each component. I also wanted each image to be connected to show a process. As I searched for images, the concept of a PKM became clearer and cleared for me.  To be honest, I think I spent more time “capturing” the perfect images that I did anything else. Standing in a flower field, picking the perfect flowers and throwing their petals to the wind is synonymous in brain with each phase of my PKM. In addition to this example, I couldn’t start writing this post until I found a picture that I felt captured what I was going to say. I couldn’t find one, so I made one.

After reading this chapter and recognizing similar thought processes that I go through when I’m trying to understand something, how can I apply this to my teaching and my leadership role at my school and district? Here are my thoughts:


I am clearly a big fan of visuals for deepening understanding.  When creating lessons for my students, I need to make a point of providing as many visuals as possible.  I think it would also be interesting to provide abstract visuals in which the students would need to make the connection from the learning target to the visual.

Drawing is important. With the daily grind and the underlying urgency I feel to get to the next lesson, sometimes I’ll skip letting the children draw (I teach 1st grade). At that moment it feels like a luxury. However, after reading this chapter I think I need to plan for the drawing time. I have a bit a guilt thinking about this next one…To all the kids who I have answered with a, “no” when they said, “Can I draw first, then write my sentences?” I apologize.  I get it. Especially after reflecting on my PKM graphic and this post.  Drawing the pictures help.


When creating powerpoints and presentations, visuals are awesome. Especially if I can find one or two that encompass the message I want to send.


Let’s talk about this image now. Why do you think I chose this to illustrate my process for writing this post? How does it represent visual learning?



  1. When I see your image, I think of water as the essential element for life. And the computer represents the human mind. So your picture, to me, shows life flowing into the mind, where it is experienced, understood, and remembered.

  2. I don’t know why you are pouring water into your laptop. If I posted this picture it would probably signify that I am tire of using my lap top or that my lap top is hot and needs to cool off. Please let me know if I’m on the right track or totally off base. I think that I am a auditory learner. I tend to believe all of what I hear and half of what I see instead of believing none of what I hear and half of what I see. What stimulates me is colors and sweet fragrances. I find myself purchasing colorful, sweet smelling flowers to soothe my anxieties. Walking into my room and seeing the bright colors and/or sniffing a sweet aroma focuses my attention on peace and happiness.

  3. Here’s where I was going…Taking information in then then sharing, is a flow for me. When I find something that I think is meaningful, I soak it all up then try to think of applications for my life.

    By the time I get to the writing phase I often feel like my thoughts flow from me directly “into” my computer. Once on paper/online the computer is what allows me to share with the world. I chose that particular image because of what was on the screen. See the way the purple light is emanating from the portion of the screen closest to the keyboard?

    Now what do you think of the visual?

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