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 6
tag(s): colonial america (108)
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!
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomUse this handy tool to guide your students through the process of organizing information in Venn diagram form. View the demonstration video together on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Complete a Venn Diagram as a class activity. Then have students work on individual computers to create their own Venn Diagrams to correlate with a language arts, social studies, or interdisciplinary lesson. Have students print out their Venn Diagrams and share them with the class. Once they have mastered this skill and underlying concepts, allow them to create even more colorful Venn diagrams using colorful Autoshapes circles, clip art, and text boxes on PowerPoint slides or using Inspiration software. Show them how to use color as a way to communicate meaning by color-coding, as well.
Grades3 to 10
In the ClassroomDemonstrate this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site for vocabulary enhancement and understanding of idioms. Speech and language teachers may want to use it to teach word combinations, as well. Students can easily play this game in pairs. Since teachers can also print the blank activity, you can use it for a desk activity or homework assignment. After students get used to this idea, have them make their own word ladders on the interactive whiteboard, as a sequence of animated PowerPoint slides, or collaboratively as a graphic organizer using an online tool such as Gliffy or Mindomo.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomWhether you use hard-copy papers or electronic editions, many of these ideas will work even better using technology: word processing, wikis, blogs (for editorials), graphic organizer tools, digital cameras, etc. Use today's tools to study this powerful medium as it goes through transition into an electronic world. Consider asking students to compare electronic vs. hard-copy newspapers and their pros/cons, as well.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomIf you make a map in Google Maps, an online graphic organizer, a set of online flash cards, to anything else that allows you to share my emailing or copying a URL, this tools will save you from endless errors or emails full of ten-line URLs. Be sure to show your middle and high school students how to use it, as well. This will solve the problem of URLs that get split and no longer work when the text wraps around to another line.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomCheck out the icebreakers for the first day of school, and back to school sections for many ideas and ready to use templates. Remember that if you want to SAVE a file from a download, you should RIGHT-click the link and choose "Save Target As" to save it to your computer.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomViewing this with the entire class will be more effective with the interactive whiteboard or projector. Teachers in any subject will find this site invaluable in teaching how to make strong visuals for oral or written presentations. What powerful evidence for multiple intelligences! Your visual/spatial students will LOVE this one, and others will learn to build that intelligence. Try these same strategies in YOUR PowerPoint presentations to communicate ideas visually, without being "powerpointless" at back to school night!
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. The site grants permission for educational download and use of the images (NOT on a web page), provided you include the copyright information with each image. Have students create sets of images to illustrate a report or make graphic organizers illustrating families of animals from your area and their classifications into kingdom, phylum, etc. Be letting students choose their own animals and examples, the task will have more meaning to them. Individuals can set up memberships (click My ARKive) to make "scrapbooks" of images and information. Membership requires a valid email address (info on your registration is sent there), so a whole-class or teacher account may be the easiest way to use it.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): literature (256)
In the ClassroomThe links on the site itself offer ways to let students investigate on the web themselves at safe sites. Integrate technology in your class by sharing the links as part of a web treasure/scavenger hunt using TrackStar, reviewed here, and asking students to collect characteristics of heroes on their own and put them in a collaborative graphic organizer like Mindomo, reviewed here. What a great start to a heroes unit---one that you can revisit and add to throughout the unit. At the end of the unit, let them use the class organizer as the basis for their own "design a hero" challenge instead of a test.
Grades3 to 8
tag(s): writing (360)
In the ClassroomUse this site and its organized approach to teaching story writing to your upper elementary and middle school students. Include the link on your teacher web page for them to use as a reference outside of class, as well. Consider having students use a graphic organizer of a story map to plan their stories (make one for them or have them use one of the many tools you can find on TeachersFirst by searching graphic organizer on our keyword search.
tag(s): mind map (25)
In the ClassroomHave students create graphic organizers in cooperative groups as a study guide for unit content, to collect information for a group research project, or show examples of an important concept. Share and compare the organizers on an interactive whiteboard or projector in class and allow classmates to suggest changes. Skills needed: join the site, practice with the tools (don't miss the notes feature!). Save up to 7 "private" maps and an unlimited number of "shared" maps.
Make a map available online by saving and clicking "yes" for sharing, then clicking the Save by URL icon. This will copy the URL onto your computer's clipboard so you can paste it into a word doc or even your teacher web page. Imagine sharing several student made "study guides" in the days before the unit test.
Note that maps that are shared can be seen by the public, but not altered. You specify members who may collaborate and make alterations. For students to collaborate using this tool they must have individual memberships, requiring an email account. These memberships must be activated from their email. So, if students do not have email that is accessible from school, classroom use BY STUDENTS will be severely limited. Editor's note: we asked the Mindomo folks about spell check and student safety issues. They are still developing this tool, so they MIGHT address these issues at a later date.
Grades6 to 12
The color-coded word "entries" display like a mind-map or graphic organizer, showing parts of speech in different colors and showing related words and phrases, as well. Be sure to look at the color key at the bottom to understand all the information presented. This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomIntroduce new vocabulary before reading or starting a new unit, using this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. The distinctions, examples, and relationships the site features for new words will help students build better connections and understanding as they read and study the words in classroom context. English teachers will love this as a learning tool for teaching distinctions between similar words. Just remember to use it in a monitored situation (see above).
GradesK to 12
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In the ClassroomTry these ready-to-go PowerPoint presentations on an interactive whiteboard or projector in your classroom. Some may also be well-suited for individual students to run on a single classroom computer for remediation or review. There are games, resources and a lot of information. The site includes a disclaimer asking to be notified if users find any copyrighted material. TeachersFirst recommends that you NOT download copies but instead use them online, just in case.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomUse these printed organizers as study support for any content area topic. Many are excellent options for reinforcing reading skills in the content areas, even for senior high students. Include this on your teacher web page so students can create their own organizers to study for tests or prepare presentations.
To make a new organizer, simply click "new," write title and directions, and print the small "print" icon. It may be easiest to take their default directions and change them for your purposes. Note that you LOSE your work when you close the page, so make sure you have printed first!