Continuing with instructional supports, this week’s blog will focus on a simple, yet powerful strategy: graphic organizers.
“Graphic organizers are tools that help your brain think.”
– Kylene Beers
Most teachers use graphic organizers but might not be fully aware of the comprehensive benefits of this visual support. Graphic organizers can accomplish the following key elements toward instructional success:
- understand important data with very little reading involved
- think logically
- identify main concepts
- assign specific labels to concepts
- sort relevant and non-relevant details
- make predictions
- identify cause and effect
- identify and understand consequences
- organize and sequence data
- understand time lines
- visualize and understand abstract content
Researchers found that when content is illustrated with diagrams, the information can be maintained by students over a longer period of time.
Graphic organizers portray knowledge in a meaningful way which helps bring clarity to ideas as connections are made.
Research shows that graphic organizers are key to assisting students to improve academic performance. In creating an organizer, pertinent aspects of a concept or topic are arranged into a pattern using labels. Research suggests that this process aids comprehension for several reasons. Graphic organizers arrange information in a visual pattern that complements an established framework, making information easier to understand and learn.
Graphic organizers may look very different across different grade levels across different subject areas. In this example, a kindergarten class is organizing key ideas from “The Giving Tree” using real objects on the graphic organizer.
In the following examples, information is organized according to the five senses in two different ways. Often, teachers can provide a choice of type of graphic organizer to the students. Which would you choose of these two different graphic organizers?
Remember, graphic organizers can become more motivating if a student’s interest is incorporated within the graphic organizer. In this example, the student’s interest in animals is incorporated in the topic/focal point and as a decoration.
Graphic organizers are available at:
by Lisa Rogers
The Education (K-12) Blogs and Special Ed Q & A are written and maintained weekly by Lisa Rogers with Educating Diverse Learners. Lisa received her M.A. in Special Education with an endorsement in the area of individuals with severe disabilities. Mrs. Rogers has also created products that have been used throughout the state of Texas for training purposes. Through the Association for Texas Professional Educators [ATPE], Ms. Rogers has produced an online course that targets the importance of visual strategies for student with autism spectrum disorders and just released her highly anticipated book titled: Visual Supports for Visual Thinkers.