Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Graphic Organizers

Summer "Best of Series" #8

How do you get students to see what you mean? How can you teach visualization? Why are some students better readers than others? I believe it stems from the ability to visualize what you are reading. Students that can visualize what they read enjoy having a large imagination. Students who engage their imagination are more likely to be interested in school and are well on their way to becoming a life long learner. We need to help our students visualize our content. We need to help them to see what’s in our minds and then be able to help others visualize what they are trying to express. I would like to take a look at the value of graphic organizers in the classroom and how students today, more than ever, need to visualize concepts. This “tuesdays” is dedicated to graphic organizers that come in all kinds and shapes.

A creative website
What is a graphic organizer? Teachers are using them to relieve learner boredom, clarify information, create interest, enhance recall, assistance for organizing thoughts and promoting understanding. I normally embrace one website, but this week I found so many great and FREE resources that I created a Quia page with hundreds of concept maps, graphic organizers and flow charts to help you present visualization strategies to your students. It is so important in these busy days that we help each other share resources. Why reinvent the wheel when others have already made graphic organizers available on the Internet. How did we ever teach years ago without all the amazing resources made freely available to us today?

An image to share (above)
Permission is granted to copy, distribute
and/or modify this document under the

A proverb
Chinese proverb

An encouragement
Don’t be overwhelmed by the vastness of organizers out there. The key is to find a few that you can embrace and make personal. Experiment with enough so that your students begin to prefer specific concept maps. The barometer of effectiveness is how you measure their understanding. I have seen students fill in organizers as busy work or space fillers, but I have also watched students own what they learned. If they are able to explain the content with only the map in front of them, the barometer of success has been reached. If they just read facts and make no links in their understanding of the concepts, they just filled in the blanks and did no more than a fill in the blank worksheet. Graphic organizers are much more powerful than that. How are you using graphic organizers in your classroom? Let us know in the comments below.

How do you do that?
How do you know what the right graphic organizer is for the content you are teaching? Believe it or not, it’s not that easy. We were in a training recently and the facilitator was telling a story about a science teacher who chose the “fishbone” graphic organizer because it looked like science. It became her favorite and everything they discussed somehow fit into the “fishbone.” Beware of overuse and always test it out on someone before you use it with your students. If you are unable to get your point across in the “testing” stage, you can conclude that you chose the wrong graphic organizer. For the first few times, always start simple. Get your students accustom to the fact that visualizing a concept is beneficial for both the teacher and the learner. You will know that they know when they can verbalize what they have visualized.

tuesdays with Karen” is a weekly newsletter/blog designed to encourage, equip and empower teachers to be creative with educational technology.

As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,


Anonymous said...

I LOVE graphic organizers. A while ago found a brain specialist who enlisted an elementry school to use only 6 basic graphic organizers for specific things from K-6. He found their brain waves improved because the kids always knew which organizer would best fit the project. I'll email you my notes.
Looking forward to seeing you soon!

tuesdays with Karen said...

Great advice, Clare. I think we often overuse them randomly instead of effectively.

Prescription Drugs said...

I would like you to keep up the good work.You know how to make your post understandable for most of the people.I will definitely share it with others.Thanks for sharing.

Faizan said...

I love graphic organizers its really good work for us...They help for teachers and students in different ways...Its look like a teachers ...Its very informative topic for hear ...Thanks for sharing ...

Graphic Organizers