Graphic Organizers: Definitions and Uses

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Graphic Organizers are a key tool for developing critical thinking skills. Here's what they can do:

  • Visually represent information
  • Show connections between pieces of data
  • Improves memory recall
  • Helps with recognizing patterns
  • Builds on cognitive skills
  • Breaks down information into smaller chunks
  • Allows for information to be compared/evaluated
  • Avoids analysis paralysis - deeper analysis
  • Sequencing events/ordering ideas
  • Grouping and summarising ideas
  • Showing causal links

What is a Graphic Organizer?

Graphic Organizers are a great way to create a visual structure to display internal thinking externally and they give a platform for information to be compared and contrasted.

They are visual thinking tools that help organize information and ideas in a way that is easy to comprehend and internalize. They demonstrate relationships between facts, concepts, or ideas, and guide your thinking as you create and design a map or diagram.

Graphic organizers are especially helpful to students who struggle with arranging information or for people with cognitive challenges or neurodiversities. There are many different forms of graphic organizers, each with its unique way of organizing and displaying specific pieces of information.

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Types of Graphic Organizers: A Quick Guide

There is no definitive answer to how many types of graphic organizers exist, as different people and institutions classify them all differently. However, one way to categorize them is by their function, such as:

  • Graphic organizers for writing, such as persuasion maps, sequence charts, and storyboards.
  • Graphic organizers for reading, such as story maps, biography organizers, and KWL charts.
  • Graphic organizers for teaching, such as learning maps, analogy organizers, and vocabulary organizers.
  • Graphic organizers for learning, such as timeline organizers, T charts, and hierarchy charts.
  • Graphic organizers for brainstorming, such as cluster diagrams, lotus diagrams, and cause and effect organizers.
  • Graphic organizers for compare and contrast, such as double bubble maps and Venn diagrams.