Marzano: Nonlinguistic Representation

This post is part of a series on integrating the McREL research on classroom instruction that works with videoconferencing.

Nonlinguistic Representation: Generalizations

  1. A variety of activities produce nonlinguistic representation.
  2. The purpose of nonlinguistic representation is to elaborate on knowledge.


Use these to improve your practice.

  1. Use graphic organizers to represent knowledge.
  2. Have students create physical models of the knowledge.
  3. Have students generate mental pictures of the knowledge they are learning.
  4. Use pictures or pictographs to represent knowledge.
  5. Have students engage in kinesthetic activities representing the knowledge (Pitler, et al., 2007, p. 86-87).

Brainstorming for Videoconferencing

This is the fun strategy, because it fits most easily with a visual communication medium. It also fits a progression of levels of interaction.

  • Share student nonlinguistic representations of data. We tried this out for the first time this school year with the TWICE We the Kids project. Students share drawings or skits representing the phrases of the constitution preamble. So classes can share/present to each other: graphic organizers, physical models, pictures, pictographs, and kinesthetic activities such as dance (watch the video on irregular verbs) and many more listed here such as acting out the states of matter. See also this musical drama on convection & hailstorms and Dance of the Water Molecule. See also Interdisciplinary Learning Through Dance and Canadian Learning Through the Arts lesson plans.
  • Mystery-Motions! What if kids could act out different concepts and the other class tried to guess? i.e. the states of matter. Weather patterns. Obviously the classes would need shared vocabulary and knowledge. Wouldn’t this be a great activity in a language exchange?
  • Creating Nonlinguistic Representations Together. How could the classes create a non-linguistic representation together? We already talked about creating online before the videoconference. But what about during the VC? Could the classes take a survey and make a pictograph by lining up for favorite pets – and easily see each other’s graphs right away? This would certainly add a new twist to the traditional Q&A at the end of a classroom collaboration.

More Sharing Ideas

  • Graphs & Data. A good chunk of the technology book is spent on graphing data, collecting it with probes, digital microscopes, etc. The current projects booklet has a data collection idea, but I have rarely seen it used. Do we just not collect and process data very often in schools?
  • Creating Videos. Having students create a video of their knowledge is also a nonlinguistic representation. @roxanneglaser has modeled this for us with Texas Twisted Weather and Imagine It!.
  • Sharing Animations. Students could create and share animations with their partner class. Reminds me of Animationish, Sketchy and Frames. Are your students creating these? Why not share them and inspire another class?

Beyond Just Sharing
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of presenting/sharing what has been done in class. How else can we interact with the partner class?

  • Ask the other class to draw something in response to what you taught/shared with them.
  • Ask the other class to move in response to your class movements.
  • Ask the other class to do a simple movement (stand up, clap) as you quiz them. Try to make the movements represent the knowledge. @sparky1fan, surely you have a good idea or two here!

What other ideas do you have? Did you get any new ideas with this post? Please comment!

Reference: Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

0 replies on “Marzano: Nonlinguistic Representation”

  1. Janine, this is a great resource – perfect for making a case with school administrators on the role and value of integrating VC into the curriculum.

    • Gail – thanks for your comment. I’m curious in what ways you would use this to make a case with school administrators? How do you work with them to implement VC in the curriculum in their school?

      • We do need a “Three Reasons to Use IVC” talking points sheet to use with curriculum directors and administrators, especially in Tx where most administrators have only attending meetings and not seen the types of connections that our students are conducting or participating in.

        Keep up the fantastic work and sharing!

      • In districts that require teachers to follow the scripted lessons that accompany the adopted ELA text, for instance, administrators may need a guide – such as Marzano – into the world of “true” technology integration (as opposed to technology as simply an assessment tool – e.g. Exam View Pro, Accelerated Reader, etc.) For some, making the shift from the thousands of worksheets that accompany each unit to allowing students to make inter-textual connections beyond the walls of the classroom is a huge step.

        Just last week, I was asked by an administrator if bringing technology into elementary classrooms was taking away from the daily minutes required by the ________________ reading program. I’ll be sending her a link to your Marzano posts:-)

      • Gail, I appreciate the additional detail. None of my districts are “scripting”, so I tend to just be glad that its not in my area. But I see the importance of thinking about it. I’m imagining a cartoon drawing (Rox?!) with a teacher’s left arm and leg being pulled towards testing/scripting and the right arm and leg being pulled towards research based good teaching – Marzano, constructivism, etc. How can they reconcile the two? Can we expect them to on their own? How can we use technology as a wedge to promote better teaching practices? Something to think about for sure!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.