There is a good deal of evidence that suggest that using graphical organizers for comprehension instruction can help students more concretely visualize abstract and vague concepts. Visual organizers such as a KWL chart can also help teachers to assess what students already know and what they want to learn so they can better cater instruction to meet students’ needs.
However, I feel compelled to note that graphic organizers are usually misused in classrooms. One of the most often-repeated mistakes I see in classrooms is forgetting that graphic organizers are tools to help students write — they are a means to an end. Filling out a graphic organizer is not a worthwhile goal — USING a graphic organizer to help plan and organize a final written essay IS a worthwhile goal. Students who just fill out graphic organizers gain little of value from the exercise, but students who learn to use graphic organizers as tools in crafting a final, published essay will be able to use those tools effectively for the rest of their lives.
With that stern caveat in mind, I have created a collection of graphic organizers that teachers can use in their classrooms. There are ten organizers in the collection. They are:
— The Spider Graphic Orgainzer
— The Fishbone Graphic Orgainzer
— The Storyboard / Chain of Events Graphic Orgainzer
— The Venn Diagram Graphic Orgainzer
— The Problem and Solutions Graphic Orgainzer
— The Cycle Graphic Orgainzer
— The Cluster Graphic Orgainzer
— The Compare / Contrast Graphic Orgainzer
— The KWL Graphic Orgainzer
— The Five Ws and an H Graphic Orgainzer