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Graphic Organizers

Graphic Organizers are useful educational tools in any subject area. They help students organize their thoughts and ideas for answering questions, function as a pre-writing tool for essays, and provide a visual display of information. They can be an easy way to differentiate instruction for a variety of learning styles as well.

How to use

1. Explain

Teach students how to use the graphic organizer you’ve chosen for the activity.  Explicitly explain the situations in which certain Graphic Organizers are used and why they are effective for use at those times.

2. Practice

Give students time to practice using various Graphic Organizers. While one student may find T-charts especially helpful, another student might prefer Venn diagrams.

3. Use

After exposing your students to several different types of Graphic Organizers and showing them the proper ways to use these organizers, you’ve given them a chance to find a new tool that they can use on their own for future projects.

When to use

Use Graphic Organizers at any point in the lesson to structure information into understandable chunks:

  • When taking notes about new information in a lesson to organize ideas
  • After reading a book to organize the plot
  • When comparing and contrasting two concepts
  • As a way to help students classify new information into meaningful  categories
  • To help students find similarities and differences by creating analogies
  • As a brainstorming tool to generate ideas before students begin an assignment, such as a writing task, a set of word problems, or a lab, to gather ideas or formalize procedures

Variations

Other graphic organizers

Try these web sites for other graphic organizers that can be used for all age groups:

http://www.eduplace.com/graphicorganizer/

http://www.educationoasis.com/curriculum/graphic_organizers.htm

http://www.thinkingmaps.org/

http://www.scoe.org/files/AH_maps.pdf

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