Graphic organizers are varied in form and use, appearing as flow charts, webs, Venn diagrams, compare and contrast diagrams, and more. As such, they can deal with a single, or multiple main ideas and can illustrate the various connections and relationships between these ideas.
Typically, these are used as a teaching resource that engage students in analysing the relationships between concepts or ideas: a semi-complete diagram is produced by teachers in order for students to fill in blank sections. This exercise tests and develops the user's knowledge on a particular subject, by encouraging them to classify groups of information surrounding a main idea or multiple main ideas. Graphic organizers demonstrate analytical thinking for users to internalise and use as a lifelong skill.
Definition of a Graphic Organizer
A graphic organizer is a visual display that demonstrates relationships between facts, concepts or ideas. It specifically guides the user's thinking as they build up and fill in the graphic organizer.
Benefits of Graphic Organizers
Graphic organizers have a variety of uses in a range of different subjects and disciplines. They can be used to develop a student's knowledge on ideas, topics or processes. Accordingly, they will appear in whatever form best suits the goal of the task to be carried out. Here are some graphic organiser examples:
Compare and Contrast:
Compare and contrast diagrams encourage students to analytically compare two topics or subjects.
For example, if an English lesson was based on a comparison between two novels using a graphic organiser, it could appear as a semi-filled out compare and contrast diagram (see opposite). Other literary scenarios might include webs (see below) for characters or themes, or flow charts for plot.
A flow chart allows students to understand the cause and effect of each stage in a process. Commonly used in a scientific scenario, exercises might include mapping out the stages of Fractional Distillation, as crude oil is turned into different products at each stage. Other flow charts may include the Water Cycle, or a Lifecycle.
Flow charts are also useful to provide instructions on an overall tasks, as members of a team can visualise where their task fits in. More simply, they can be used for everyday tasks such as making a cup of tea (see opposite).
Webbing is a diagram tool that groups categories of information into associated themes, typically developed from a template for educational purposes.
For example, a web may divide the complex literary components of a play into sections to allow for easier close-analysis (see opposite). By completing the blanks in these sections, such as the themes in Shakespeare's Hamlet, students can better their understanding of the complexities of a literary work.
Building a Graphic Organizer For the Classroom:
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