Published Works for Teachers

Imagery Walk


The Imagery Walk is an exercise that allows students to visually bring content alive by utilizing their imaginations. It is based on meditative practices but allows for scenes in English Language Arts, historical periods in Social Studies, geometrical designs in mathematics, and procedures in science to be recreated. By implementing this strategy, students are more able to move the content from short-term to long-term memory, because they personally create and interact with the content area.

  1. Using a soft, gentle, soothing, and even voice, begin to set the stage for this exercise. Tell students, “You will be taking a voyage of the mind. You will meditate quietly in your seats, looking for a greater understanding of what we have been studying. Please get comfortable and close your eyes.” (If the class size is small and the floors are carpeted with ample room, ask the students to lie down.) “I am turning off the lights to help you focus within, allowing your imagination to take flight. There is no talking. Embrace the stillness and the quiet. Your task is to envision in your mind’s eye the unfolding scene of the content that we are studying.”
  2. “Place yourself in the situation where you are looking down from the top of a staircase. Be completely relaxed. With closed eyes, prepare the mind for your journey, where each of the meditative steps will open new vistas of understanding and clarity. The physical body is totally relaxed, and the mind should be free of intrusive and distracting thoughts.”
  3. “Concentrate and focus on your breathing, which should be evenly spaced. This will allow  for your full concentration.”
  4. “Pretend that you are walking down a path and come to a staircase. As you look below, you notice that each step has the beautiful colored hue of the rainbow, starting with a brilliant red and ending with the subtle shading of purple. In your mind, you are now prepared to embark on your journey, and you take the first step. You concentrate on each of the colors.”
  5. “Look at the staircase and prepare to walk down. Let your mind focus on each color as you take your steps.” Give students 20 seconds after each description.

a. “Your foot first touches the red stepLook at the brightness of the color. Feel the redness rush through your body. Red is the color of excitement. It is bright and brilliant, and you feel its warmth rush through your body. Think about the excitement of this experience.” Pause.

b. “The next step is orange. Step carefully as you let the color wash over you. Orange is the color of harmony. Concentrate on the color. Measure your breathing evenly. Focus only on the color orange, and feel the warmth in this room.”  Pause.

c. “Now you step on yellow. The yellow makes you happy. The yellow gives you joy. Continue breathing slowly, the mind is empty except for yellow, and think of the sun’s rays that shine upon the earth. Feel the sun’s warmth on your face, like the fresh burst of spring.” Pause.

d. “You’re glowing with warmth as you step on the green. Green, like the bursting leaves on the trees, gives you a soothing and healthy feeling. It’s the color of grass and all the plants of the earth and represents life and growth. Breathe in and enjoy the smell of fresh-cut grass on a spring day.” Pause.

e. “The blue step welcomes you. Your breathing comes evenly and relaxed, for you feel the peace and warmth of the blue, for that is the color of all the love in the world. Your mind is calm, free of everything except the good and peaceful thoughts that love brings.” Pause.

f. “Place your feet on the purple step. This is the color of kings and queens. Breathe in slowly, and let your mind hold on to the purple glow, giving you the power to do what is right for yourself. Concentrate, and let your mind fill with all that is best for you.” Pause.

g. “Last is the step of creativity, the violet step. Relax your mind and breathe slowly and evenly. Imagine the silken texture of the violet flowers, their softness, and how easily you can solve your problems. The violet, like the creativity of your mind, is a burst of brilliance.” Pause.

6. “You will now be stepping off the staircase and onto a cloud that will carry you off to a distant place.”

7. At this point, you will guide the students where they will travel. Your descriptions should paint the stage of their exploration.

a. English Language Arts: Assigning To Kill a Mockingbird, you can descriptively portray the era of America’s “Jim Crow” South through the eyes of Atticus. The humiliations of segregation, where Black Americans in the courtroom were kept apart from Whites, and the threat of lynching and physical violence was a daily presence. For example, “As you enter the courtroom, the heat and humidity combined with the attending townspeople makes you perspire. You are not sure if your evident discomfort is due to the heat, the crowd, or the oppressive feeling of racial tension that is so evident in the proceedings of the trial…”

b. Social Studies: Studying the world of Periclean Athens, the daily world and vibrant activities of the Athenians can be brought to life. You give the students an example: “The agora, the great portico and central meeting place of the City-State, is filled with people. There are politicians and holders of public office all gesticulating and talking loudly, competing with the shouts and voices of shopkeepers and tradespeople haggling. Business, buying, and selling are continually being carried on, with all the populace that includes slaves and foreigners and freemen mixing together and exemplifying the democracy of Athens…”

c. Science: While studying the digestive system, have them transform themselves into a piece that was just bitten off an apple. Your narrative takes them through the various stages of the digestive tract: “You are swallowed and slide down the esophagus, and then are momentarily halted. There is a valve that allows only small measured portions of you to continue. You make it into the stomach chamber. All of a sudden, there are liquids that swirl all around you. You are surrounded, and all parts of you begin to break down for separation and parceling to other parts of the body…”

d. Mathematics: While studying geometry and polyhedra, take the students on a scavenger hunt trying to locate a terrorist. Your clue is that he is hiding in an unusually shaped structure: “Like superman, you are flying above Washington, D.C. You peer down and see the great dome of the circular pillared building that enshrines Jefferson’s statue. Further along, you zoom down to the huge and massive pentagonal shaped building that houses the military leaders of the USA…”

8. Make sure you tap sensory perception. How do things appear? Is there a smell involved? Can students touch something and note its texture. Is there a question that they want to pose to a given character? Does your lesson allow students to take on a specific character and to see it from his or her perspective? Allow them the opportunity and time to extend the lesson that you have designed. This will tap their creative abilities that can be reflected upon after the lesson in the Follow Up section.

9. To bring students back to the classroom. Warn them kindly, “We will be leaving in a minute from this place and will return to the classroom.” (Pause for a minute or two.)

10. “It’s time to go, to get up and climb back onto the cloud. It will bring you back to the foot of the staircase. Be prepared to climb them. Slowly and carefully, take one step at a time, moving upward and stepping on each step as you climb the staircase: violet, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.”

11. “At the count of three, you will open your eyes to end the voyage. One…, two…., and three.”


The following questions can be discussed in small groups or pairs and/or answered in written form:

  • Describe in detail to a peer what your meditation experience was like.
  • In what ways did the Imagery Walk help you gain a better understanding of the content we are studying?
  • Explain in detail what you were surprised to learn…..

(c) 2012 Andi Stix, Ed.D


Please share this or other visualization exercises that you have used with your class and how your students responded  to the experience. 

Andi Stix is an educational consultant & coach who specializes in differentiation, interactive learning, writing across the curriculum, classroom coaching, and gifted education. For further information on her specialties or social media, please email her on the Contact page.