are Graphic Organizers ?
organizer is a visual communication tool that uses visual symbols
to express ideas and concepts, to convey meaning. A graphic organizer
often depicts the relationships between facts, terms, and or ideas
within a learning task. It is often referred to as a "map"
because it can help teachers and students "map out" their
ideas in a visual manner. There are many similar names for graphic
organizers including: knowledge maps, concept maps, story maps,
cognitive organizers, advance organizers, or concept diagrams.
is its purpose?
main purpose of a graphic organizer is to provide a visual aid to
facilitate learning and instruction. Most graphic organizers form
a powerful visual picture of information and allow the mind 'to
see' undiscovered patterns and relationships. Although they have
been applied across a range of curriculum subject areas, reading
is by far the most well practiced application. Science, social studies,
language arts, and math are more recent areas in which graphic organizers
are being applied.
do I do it?
1992, Jay McTighe in his book Graphic Organizers: Collaborative
Links to Better Thinking outlined three main ways teachers may use
graphic organizers in their teaching and a number of ways that students
can use them to aid in the learning process.
instruction, teachers may use a graphic organizer to attempt
to provide structure for the presentation of new material while
indicating relations between ideas. Teachers can elicit information
from students by creating a graphic organizer on the blackboard
to get an accurate idea of students’ prior knowledge
instruction, graphic organizers can help students to actively
isolate, process and reorganize key information. This is because
graphic organizers allow students to approach subjects cognitively
because they assist thinking. The student must take an active
role in learning while processing and reorganizing information.
Modifying an organized structure of information gives students
an opportunity to learn from their own mistakes. It also allows
students to construct maps that are appropriate to their individual
instruction, students can construct their own organizers
using the full text to isolate and organize key concepts. This
summarization technique is a tool to see if students can interpret
what was being taught and state it in concise, accurate terms.
Post-instruction graphic organizers also encourage elaboration.
If a student can connect prior knowledge with what was learned
and identify relationships between those ideas, they are actively
When introducing students to a new graphic organizer, you should
describe its purpose, model its use, and provide students with
opportunities for guided practice. Once students become comfortable
with using the organizer, more independent applications are appropriate.
In the end, you should encourage and assist students to create
their own organizers.
can I adapt it?
children about animals and helping them classify the animals
Explaining the connections between characters in a story
Developing language skills by including pictures along with the
words within the graphic organizer to explain a certain concept
children remember or understand the specific parts of a story
Using phonological awareness activities, teaching the children
how and when to spell the various /s/ sounds, for example.
Helping children remember the provinces and capitals and where
they are located in Canada. For example – the Maritime Provinces,
the Eastern Provinces, the Western Provinces.
Science concepts, such as how and when various types of clouds
Understanding history concepts, such as the key issues leading
to the Civil War.
Associating the instruments in an orchestra with the particular
section that instrument might be in. One section of the graphic
organizer might be entitled “woodwind instruments,”
with the specific instruments noted.
and Evaluation Considerations
way that you evaluate graphic organizers depends a great deal on
the graphic organizer being evaluated. A generic rubric
for evaluating student and teacher made graphic organizers might
be a useful tool for evaluating the effectives of a specific graphic
you wish to evaluate the effect that using a specific graphic organizer
had in students reaching a learning goal or objective, then other
assessment tools and techniques will be needed.
Organizers (Grades K-8), Karen D’Angelo Bromley , Linda
Irwin-Devitis , Marcia Modlo, 01 January, 1999 ISBN: 0590489283
Organizers as Thinking Technology - an article by James McKenzie
Organizers from NCREL - gives
specific examples of graphic organizers such as K-W-L-H (Know,
Want, Learn, How), Anticipation Reaction Guide, Spider Map, Series
of Events Chain, Continuum Scale, Compare/Contrast Matrix, Problem/Solution
Outline, Network Tree, Human Interaction Outline, Fishbone Map
Organizer Printables from Teacher-Vision.com - These graphic
organizers will help you and your students organize ideas and
Graphic Organizer Generators
Organizers from Education Place - PDF's of many graphic organizers
On-Line - Graphic Organizers - explains the five main types
of organizers with examples
Resources: Graphic Organizers
of the Writing Process - Specific Graphic Organizers Links
from Houghton Mifflin
Organizers for Content Instruction - from ESL net
Organizers from Scholastic.com
Organizers from Enchanted Learning