Graphic Organizer Resources from TeachersFirst
Whether you call them concept maps, mind maps, KWLs, or graphic organizers, these visual diagrams show relationships between concepts and provide a powerful tool for learning and connecting new ideas. Creating graphic organizers also helps today's visual learners build reading comprehension. This collection of reviewed resources includes tools for creating graphic organizers and many suggestions for ways to use them in teaching almost any subject or grade. Be sure to read the "In the Classroom" suggestions for examples of ways to use graphic organizers as part of a lesson or unit.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Realize that you can only make 3 maps for free, but you can always delete old ones to make room. Play with the tools and toolbars to create a mind map; use toolbars to collaborate, publish, or print diagrams. Creating the organizers is of easy to medium difficulty depending upon how elaborate you desire your organizer to be (don't miss the notes feature!). A handy revision "history" helps you see what changes were made when. See the blog for helpful video tutorials and tips. Note: to use the "real time" collaboration feature, collaborators need individual email accounts to gain access.
Note that maps that are "published" can be seen by the public (read only, so they cannot be altered). If a map is shared via a URL, only those that were "invited" to view the map will be able to see it. However, this does require each viewer to sign up (free) to MindMeister to be able to view this map. You can specify members who may collaborate and make alterations to a map that is not "published." You can also invite other members to view (but not change) unpublished maps.
The class can create organizers together, such as in a brainstorming session on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Or, you can assign students in cooperative groups to create a mind map as a study guide for unit content, to collect information for a group research project, or show examples of an important concept. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Have students organize any concepts you study; color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, and question; map out a story, plotline, or plan for the future; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle).
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the interactives, printables, lesson resources, and presentations. A few activities include tasks for an interactive whiteboard or projector and others provide handouts or reproducible activity pages. Be sure to save this site in your favorites, there is lots here to explore. Also provide this link on your class website. A great site to have parents use with their student as well.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as a cooperative learning activity during a lesson or unit on the events of September 11th or as part of a broader discussion on international relations, terrorism, or the role of government in balancing personal liberties and national security. Create a graphic organizer to guide students through the site (or have them create their own in small groups), highlighting what's most important and the important facts and details. For help creating easy graphic organizers, try using Holt Interactive Graphic Organizer, reviewed here, or bubbl.us, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): spanish (103)
In the ClassroomCreate non-verbal task cards or visual directions for assignments with graphics from this library collection. Download imagery from a variety of different categories and create an interactive whiteboard or projector sorting activity. Have students decide what images have in common and then sort them into groups. Use online graphic organizers from sites such as Webspiration reviewed here. to sort clip art. The images are also excellent to design language-teaching flashcards, game cards, illustrate songs, add to worksheets or include on class websites.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomMake learning how to learn part of your class routine at any grade level and in any subject. Feature one or more new study strategy each month and share this entire list as a link from your class web page for students and parents to access both in and out of school.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the free lesson materials and presentations. A few activities include tasks for an interactive whiteboard or projector and others provide handouts or reproducible activity pages. Be sure to save this site in your favorites, there is lots here to explore.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomThis is a great site to help students sequence, brainstorm, and organize information. Use on an interactive whiteboard or projector and fill out organizers after a lesson. Print out organizers and have students use them in cooperative reading groups. Use the organizers to differentiate for students who need extra scaffolding or for students who need extension activities. As students get older and learn which study skills help them best, they will want to access this site on their own to study for tests. Be sure to save this site in your personal favorites!
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the ideas presented at this site (if you are a member or not). Share certain maps or handouts on your interactive whiteboard. Use this site to teach your students more about the history of the games.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): constitution (91)
In the ClassroomBefore you start planning your Constitution Day activities, check out this FREE site. Since this site was created by the National Constitution Center, you can be sure that the material is of high quality. Share the audio and visual on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Take advantage of the lesson plans and more. Replace paper and pen by having students fill out an online graphic organizer as a pre and post assessment about what they know about the Constitution. A KWL chart works well for this. Find an interactive graphic organizer at Holt Graphic Organizers, reviewed here. Alternatively, modify classroom technology use by challenging students to create a multimedia poster or infographic about what they learned using Genial.ly, reviewed here.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on Antarctica and the scientists living there. To highlight information, preview the site and create graphic organizers to guide students through and find the important information. For help making graphic organizers, try Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here)
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): diseases (71)
In the ClassroomAs you study diseases in general, use malaria as an example. Use the site to identify how malaria is transmitted and methods that can be used to prevent the transmission of the disease. Identify how the scientific method has been used in order to identify how a disease has been transmitted as well as treated or prevented. Compare information found about malaria to research other diseases and compare to other diseases and vectors. Students can create a conventional or multimedia project to display knowledge to others. Create graphic organizers to show the progress of the disease. Students can also create a wiki to show information or a blog for discussions with others. Not sure what a wiki is? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
Many students may feel compassion for children in other countries and seek to help in some way. Use this site for ways to help those in other countries fight this terrible disease.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomWhen studying about the various cultures in America, don't forget the rich mission cultures in the West and Southwest. Spanish teachers will appreciate this site's simplicity in teaching Mission-related Spanish words. Have cooperative learning groups investigate other missions or historical topics from the 1800s. Challenge student groups to create their own historical tale in this "choose your own adventure" style. Provide a template graphic organizer for the story options so they are able to organize it in the planning stages, then create one in PowerPoint with hyperlinks to the choices or on a class wiki using links to the places (pages) they choose.
Grades4 to 6
tag(s): colonial america (102)
In the ClassroomAfter completing the webquest, challenge the students to create a play or a readers' theater script for the presentation. Use the script writing tips found on Aaron Shepard's Reader's Theater Page, reviewed here. Then have a "Play Day" and invite family members, other classes, and administration to come to the classroom and watch the plays. Video record the plays and post them to the class web page for those who could not make it to class. Share the videos using a site such as TeacherTube, reviewed here.
Be sure to list this site (and activity) on your class website. Ask parents to assist with character research at home by providing the web quest link on the class web page. Don't forget that parents may be able help with props for the plays.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to learn more about graphic organizers. Why not have your students create an online Venn diagram about a current science topic or literature unit? Use a tool such as bubbl.us(explained here).
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse these PowerPoints to provide background information for projects or further inquiry in class. For example, use a PowerPoint on cells to give background information. Create questions for students to answer while viewing the PowerPoint or add your own "lecture" notes while showing to a class. Remember that PowerPoint does not HAVE to be shown on a screen. Students can watch them as tutorials at a center or computer cluster. Learning support teachers will appreciate having an alternate way to present basic concepts to visual learners. Assign students a particular cell part to research more information about the part. Explore professional topics on your own or together with colleagues during inservice time.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomNo matter what you teach, these resources will help you target reading and study skills for better comprehension and more.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomClick "Start Here" to type the subject of your concept map. Hitting your Enter key creates a new level (branch) within the map. Tab creates an additional branch on the same level as the current topic. Experiment with the small icons on each "element" to change colors, drag, make new connections, etc. Save and set sharing (read-only or open access) in the area at the right. You can "send" a read-only link via email or copy the embed code from the Menu at lower right), but you cannot find the URL directly from your map. "Send" it to yourself via email to copy the actual URL.
There are countless possibilities at this mental mapping site. Demonstrate the tool on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own graphic organizers. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Have students organize color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, question; map out a story, plotline, or LIFETIME; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings(?) based on pivotal points; plan a "tour" for a "thought museum." Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature or social studies: have students demonstrate their understanding by completing a graphic organizer about the main points. To minimize the number of maps on a free account, have students screenshot or print their results to turn them in. See more ideas in the linked example above!