Graphic organizers

Graphic organizer pocket chart

Ever heard of a graphic organizer? 

I found several explanations, some so wordy or convoluted that you would need a dictionary just to clarify the definition! What’s with educators these days? Seems as though they love to make things more complicated than they really are. My editor friend Mary Jo Tate commented on this very trend at her blog recently.

But enough about that.

Here are a couple of definitions that actually make sense:

graphic organizer  1. A visual organizer such as a map, web, chart, or diagram that shows relationships. 2. A tool used to arrange thoughts and ideas in an orderly fashion.

Visual thinkers can use a variety of graphic organizers to arrange their ideas in preparation for writing. In WriteShop, we love to use them for brainstorming. There are many types of graphic organizers from mind-maps and story webs to charts of all kinds.

All ages can use these handy tools. WriteShop I and II introduce a wide variety of graphic organizers for junior high and high schoolers, from lists and charts to mind-maps to Venn Diagrams. At the younger end, our new WriteShop Primary introduces the simplest forms, such as story webs, to children K-3rd grades, and WriteShop Junior offers a wide variety of ready-to-use brainstorming tools for upper-elementary ages.

Today, instead of trying to explain a bunch of graphic organizers to you, I thought you’d much rather see some for yourself! Here are some links to graphic organizers you can download and print for free. Poke around and find one or two to try out this week.

For the Little Guys

  • About Me – cute way for a child to plan a story about himself.
  • The 5 Ws – a simple graphic hand helps kids plan a “who, what, when” story.
  • Simple Story – organizer that helps plan character, problem, and solution.

For Middle Grades

For Older Students

  • Fishbone – helps think through causal relationships.
  • Idea Organizer – helps think through key ideas and supporting points.
  • Venn Diagram – interactive organizer you can fill in online; great for compare/contrast essays.
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