Thursday, February 10, 2011

Graphic Organizers

Graphic Organizers.

They didn't exist when I went to school.  Or at least, none of my teachers used them way back them.  When I was in "teacher" college, they were becoming all rage.  I took notes, but still didn't get the benefits.  Even after I started teaching in the classroom, I didn't use them much initially.  Thankfully, I've started to grow a little in the area and now, I've been using them with my daughter fairly regularly.

Basically, a graphic organizer is just a way of organizing information.  The can be a big benefit to visual learners, but also a kinesthetic learner can benefit if you allow them to fill in the diagrams themselves.  It provides a different way of seeing the information you are learning.

Generally, when I use them, I use them for science and history, but I did one for English yesterday.  What's interesting is the one website that I usually get my organizers from gives them a 5th -8th grade level!  I'm using them with my 6 year old, second grader.  One thing, however, is that I don't let her know that she's doing anything different.  To her, all second graders use a y-graph to review adverbs.  Again, don't let "the man" tell you what you can or can't use with your student. 

Here's a few examples of how I've used them.

This is a Y graph.  Since an adverb can modify 3 things, I listed one in each section and had her write a sentence using  that form of an adverb.

This is a star graph.  I had her write facts about mammals in each section.

Here is a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting amphibians and reptiles.

This is a tree diagram.  We used words and pictures to explain feudalism.

Where to find graphic organizers?  Well, to be honest, you can draw them up yourself, but I do save myself some time and effort and get mine from Enchanted Learning.  If you're not a member, however, you can only access the thumbnail of all the organizers they have.  I did find some for free here, here, and here.

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