isualization esson


Have your students fill in the graphic organizer as you read the poem orally several times. Provide a copy of the poem the class. Have one part of the class read half and the other answer. Then have them draw pictures as you read it one last time.  This poem is a great example of extended metaphor.

Mother to Son  by Langston Hughes

Well Son, I'll tell you

Life for me ain't been no crystal stair

It's had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor,



But all the time

I'se been climbin'on

And rechin' landin's

And turnin' cornors

And sometime goin' on in the dark

Where there ain't been no light.

So, Boy, don't you turn back.

Don't you set down on the steps

"cause you find it's kinder hard.

Don't you fall now-

For I'se still goin', Honey,

I'se still climbin'

And life for me ain't been

No Crystal stair.


  • Choose two scenes from this poem and draw how you saw each one in your mind.
  • Alongside tell how you connected to this poem.
  • Tell the words that confused you and make a guess at what they meant.
  • Use this graphic organizer
  • When students finish the organizer bring the class together in a circle and discuss what they visualized. Discuss the 'slang' and why the author decided to use this language.
  • Talk about the author's purpose for writing the poem.
  • What message/theme does the poem have?
  • Use the sites below to talk about extended metaphor and how author's use sound in poetry.


explanation of extended metaphor

See full size image



 How authors use sound in poems.

Using Graphic Organizers to Visualize

Give One, Take One

An exercise where students think of one idea and exchange ideas with classmates. In pairs, students exchange their original idea and explain the basic concepts around the idea.
Plot the Action

Students graph their reaction to the story on the x-axis, using the y-axis to reflect the impact of the event on the reader.
relationship charts  

Students use this chart to visualize a series of steps occurred in the story. They add the details to explain what they saw in each step. Steps could be any action or event that took place over time.

story Map  

Students draw pictures from their reading and write the authors words on the right, then describe what they saw in their minds.


Use this for after reading the novel or short story. Students see the important parts of the plot as they write, beginning middle and end.



Another mapping device that helps students see the whole story in relationship to the events as they unfold.