Alternatives to the Essay: Infographics

In my English classes I’m always looking for assessments that aren’t essays. Here’s why:

  1. Our district is really big on alternative assessments and allowing students more choice in how they display knowledge
  2. I like finding new ways for students to display their understanding.
  3. I don’t need another stack of essay to grade (okay, this is the real reason.)

I was inspired by the idea of having students create an infographic as a way to demonstrate their understanding of a topic. Pinterest is full of them because they are visually interesting but informative at the same time. Plus, they would force students to think outside the box in ways that an essay doesn’t really encourage.

At this point the class had read the first ten chapters of Pride and Prejudice. I gave them a few topics to re-explore in this section: the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy, the importance of dance, what it means to be “an accomplished woman,” and Mrs. Bennet’s schemes to get her daughters married. They had to reread and annotate to draw some conclusions and I selected a few articles for them to read for background on the culture. They had to display their knowledge as an infographic.

There are plenty of infographics out there to get ideas. If you do an image search, you’ll find a ton. I told students they could draw one if they chose, they could use a program like Word or Prezi, or they could use an online infographic creator like Piktochart.   (The last option may require you to create an account. I told them to use the email their school provides for them, which they don’t really use for anything.)

Below are some examples of student work. The first three were created using the templates on Piktochart. The fourth was done on Photoshop and the last was done by hand. I was really pleased how they came out. They were very easy to grade and forced the students to think about how to organize their information creatively and effectively.





Learning should be fun! Check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store for fun comic resources like those below.


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