Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

TIP Chart

Mariah Warren | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


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TIP Chart

By using a TIP (Term, Information, Picture) chart, students collaborate to construct shared understanding of new vocabulary that they encounter in a unit. TIP charts contain multiple representations of each word and can be referenced throughout the unit. This strategy is designed to increase students' exposure to important vocabulary while they are learning about concepts.

TIP Chart


At the beginning of a unit, the class creates a shared three-column chart labeled with the TIP acronym: Term, Information, and Picture. As they progress, students add to this chart when they encounter a new vocabulary word ("Term"), then collaborate to create a class definition ("Information"), and a helpful visual representation ("Picture"). This results in a word wall that students can reference throughout the unit.


  1. At the beginning of a unit, create a class chart on poster paper with three columns. Label these columns "Term," "Information," and "Picture." Optionally, you may choose to create this chart digitally (for instance, through Padlet or Google Sheets). You may also choose to have students fill out their own individual TIP charts.

  2. As students encounter new vocabulary throughout the unit, have them add each new vocabulary word to the "Term" column.

  3. Invite the class to collaboratively create a concise definition and visual representation for each new word.

  4. Have a student write the agreed-upon definition and any other important details in the "Information" column.

  5. Have students draw the agreed-upon picture or symbol in the "Picture" column to help them understand and remember the new vocabulary word.

Rollins, S. P. (2014). Learning in the fast lane: 8 ways to put All students on the road to academic success. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.