This post originally appeared on the blog Spark Creativity.

One-pagers are becoming increasingly popular as a way to help students process what they’ve read, in one powerful activity. Like sketchnotes, they combine visuals with text to make ideas come alive in students’ minds and memories.

Teacher-Author Spark Creativity has some great ideas to help your students love one-sheeters, even if your kiddos aren't naturally inclined toward art.

But it’s easy for students to struggle with one-pagers if they’re not naturally inclined toward art and have not previously been encouraged to represent their ideas this way. They may feel they are being graded unfairly on their artistic abilities.

Some students will hear directions to create a graphic representation of a reading and dive right in. Others will moan and mutter things about “ridiculous art projects.” But the popularity of one-pagers with teachers lately is undeniable. If students can get over their hang-ups, they really learn a lot from processing what they’ve read in visual form with a one-pager. So how to help the art-haters thrive alongside the artists? How to show everyone that their one-pagers are about critical thinking and interpretation, not just flair pens (though flair pens are a pretty fabulous addition)?

When you provide students with a clear and straightforward template with instructions for what to put inside each section, you give them some creative constraint that can actually help inspire them to do their best. For example, you can divide up the paper and provide instructions to include aspects like these:

  • A border which somehow represents the key themes from what you have read.
  • An image in the upper left hand corner with a quotation woven into or around it. This image should somehow represent what you consider to be the most important symbol in the text so far.
  • Images and/or doodled words in the upper right hand corner that represent the key characters from the text and perhaps how they are changing.
  • Images and quotations in the lower left hand corner that show the author’s style of writing, and the power of the language that is used
  • Images and/or words in the bottom right hand corner that show connections between the themes and ideas in the writing and what is going on in the world today.
  • Three important quotations from the text.
  • Words and/or images that show the significance of the setting in some way.
This way, students have a clear to-do list, and avoid the writer’s/artist’s block that can get in the way. You can experiment with varied templates, and even start letting students who want to go off template once they get comfortable with the structure.

Teacher-Author Spark Creativity has some great ideas to help your students love one-sheeters, even if your kiddos aren't naturally inclined toward art.
Want to get started right away? Check out this popular bundle of one-pagers templates, including one-pagers for novels, films, podcasts, vocabulary, and even getting to know your students on the first day of school.
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Betsy Mork: Teacher-Author on TpTAfter almost a decade of teaching across all the high school levels and grades in both the United States and abroad, Betsy now joyfully spends her time helping high school English teachers escape the podium and teach creatively. Betsy runs the website Spark Creativity and has also written for Independent School Magazine, English Journal, We are Teachers, ReadWriteThink.org, and Classroom Notes Plus. Her degrees and a lot of happy memories come from Pomona College (B.A., English) and Middlebury (M.A., English). Betsy loves to travel the world (she’ll be back, Morocco!), play playdoh with her little ones, and cook a range of desserts that would make the Hogwarts house elves proud. Join the creative journey in her Facebook group, Creative High School English, or listen to her podcast The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast. Follow along on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest for daily creative inspiration.