Should I Use a Graphic Organizer?

You can get the two Graphic Organizers pictured in this post plus one more for free here.

The graphic organizer pictured to the right could easily be made into a question and answer worksheet format. The assignment would be fine, but the graphic organizer is a much more appealing and possibly more appropriate format.

You probably use graphic organizers with your students all of the time. After all, they help students to:

  • organize ideas
  • make connections
  • discover new ways of thinking about things
  • demonstrate knowledge
  • make plans and decisions
  • explore a subject with more depth
Also, they are generally more fun than a question-and-response format, so students are likely to greet them with more enthusiasm than a worksheet of questions.

Often graphic organizers can be used to replace those very worksheets. Here are some useful questions to ask when deciding if a graphic organizer is a good format for an assignment:

Can my subject be compacted into one page?
Usually, a graphic organizer is on a single page. There may be several related graphic organizers on several pages, but having one overflow onto a second page tends to break the flow. Of course, you could use really big paper…
Does my subject lend itself to connections
Graphic organizers are a great way to show the connections that people, places, things, events etc. have to one another. If you are doing something that has to do with events over a period of time, a graphic organizer could be just what you need.
Would using a pre-made graphic organizer restrict thinking?
I have seen many bubble-type graphic organizers (mind maps) in which the main idea goes in the middle circle and then there are various circles surrounding it. If this is being used for brainstorming or another open-ended applications, why not just have the students make their own? Then they can make as many bubbles as they want, in whatever orientation makes the most sense.
Would a graphic organizer be more motivating?

If writing vocabulary words and their definitions in cool looking shapes rather than on regular lines across the paper is more fun, why not do it? The learning is the same.

You can get the two Graphic Organizers pictured in this post plus one more for free here

Or you can get the whole set of 22 of Any Book Graphic Organizers here

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