What is a Graphic Organizer?
A graphic organizer is a visual learning tool to help organize and remember information better. Using graphic organizers effectively can help your student with critical thinking skills and understanding central ideas.
Graphic organizers are helpful learning tools for all grade levels. They provide a visual aid that can be adapted for any grade level to organize ideas and concepts. A younger student could use pictures to complete a sequence of events graphic organizer while an older student could use more text to demonstrate cause and effect.
A completed graphic organizer gives you an assessment tool to determine how much information your student understands and where you may need to fill in learning gaps. They are also helpful for students with learning disabilities to give them a visual aid and study guide.
There are many different types of graphic organizers. Here are some of the ones that are commonly used to organize thoughts and ideas!
K W L chart graphic
A KWL chart is a popular graphic organizer that helps students look at their learning through the course of a particular subject. To use this simple organizer, students are given three boxes to fill in what they Know, what they Wonder, and what they Learned.
The first step is filling in any prior knowledge the student has on the subject. Even if it’s a topic they have never heard about before, there is probably something they can put in the “What I Know” box! The second box, or the “What I Wonder/Want to Know” section, is a great place to brainstorm. Students can write down any questions they have about the subject.
Lastly, the third box, or the “What I Learned” section, is perfect for reflection. After your student has learned all about the subject and has a deeper understanding of the topic, they can think about what they have learned and how they can apply it.
These graphic organizers allow students to compare and contrast two different ideas, concepts, subjects, etc. The best part about Venn Diagrams is that they are extremely simple to create! All you need to do is draw two circles that intersect in the middle, leaving room to write in all three sections. The purpose of a Venn Diagram is to demonstrate relationships between different ideas. For example, questions like “How do I compare plants and animals ?” are perfect for a Venn Diagram!
A concept map is a graphic organizer that helps students visualize relationships between ideas. This is an especially great tool when it comes to reading because it can help your student increase their reading comprehension skills!
To create a concept map, you will first need to start with a main or central idea. Then, your student will be able to add to their concept map as they read or learn more about the subject. Any related ideas are added to the map using arrows and lines to connect them.
The main goal of a concept map is to help students recognize how ideas are connected to each other. It’s totally fine if this graphic organizer gets a little messy, as long as you can clearly see where the ideas connect!
These graphic organizers are perfect for students who are learning new information! You might also know this graphic organizer as a “mind map” due to its shape. The purpose of an idea web is to start with the main idea and create a “web” of related ideas around it. This graphic organizer is incredibly helpful for students who need to organize ideas or need some structure when it comes to brainstorming.
If you are working with a subject where the sequence of something matters, flow charts are the way to go! These are great when planning science experiments or could also be helpful to organize events in history. A flow chart makes learning about the process of something happening easy to visualize and understand.
If you need a graphic organizer to look at how any organization is structured, a hierarchy chart is the perfect one to use! These charts are extremely helpful when your student needs to classify animal food chains, life cycles, or even their own personal family history. Its purpose is to help students visualize the relationships between different subjects in an organization.
Story Maps are great for reading comprehension as they allow the student to break down the important parts of a book. There are many different designs and structures for a story map, but generally, you will have a spot to write about the setting, characters, plot points, conclusion, and theme, or a more simple version would include a place to write about the beginning, middle and end. This graphic organizer is versatile because it can be changed depending on the age and reading level of your student.
Graphic organizers are great tools to aid in your student’s learning. There are so many different options to choose from, and many of the organizers will work for a variety of subjects! You can create graphic organizers simply by drawing the template on blank paper, using shape tools on computer applications, or buying them from sites such as Teachers Pay Teachers. If you are looking for a way to help your student deepen their understanding of a subject, graphic organizers are simple but effective student learning tools.