Graphic Organizer Resources from TeachersFirst

Whether you call them concept maps, mind maps, KWLs, or graphic organizers, these visual diagrams show relationships between concepts and provide a powerful tool for learning and connecting new ideas. Creating graphic organizers also helps today's visual learners build reading comprehension. This collection of reviewed resources includes tools for creating graphic organizers and many suggestions for ways to use them in teaching almost any subject or grade. Be sure to read the "In the Classroom" suggestions for examples of ways to use graphic organizers as part of a lesson or unit.

 

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California As I Saw It - Library of Congress

Grades
6 to 12
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The Library of Congress has collected original writings by settlers and explorers in California during the period 1850-1900. Indexed by author, subject, and title, this site offers...more
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The Library of Congress has collected original writings by settlers and explorers in California during the period 1850-1900. Indexed by author, subject, and title, this site offers lots of starting points for talented students interested in using primary source materials for research in history or social studies.

tag(s): california (27), explorers (61), gold rush (19)

In the Classroom

This would be a very useful site for covering the Gold Rush in a US history classroom. Select several documents and images that could be used for a document-centered activity in your classroom. Assign students to groups, with each receiving a different document and/or image. Have students fill out graphic organizers about each document, with the intentions of rotating all until students have received every one. At the end of the activity, have a class discussion of what students found and what their answers indicate. A refreshing way to teach Gold Rush history without another lecture.

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Daniel Boone - University of Virginia

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9 to 12
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The University of Virginia's Daniel Boone site provides a discussion of the roles of Boone as both an "empire builder" and a primitivist. Interesting site for a student interested in...more
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The University of Virginia's Daniel Boone site provides a discussion of the roles of Boone as both an "empire builder" and a primitivist. Interesting site for a student interested in how historical characters acquire mythic proportions.

tag(s): heroes (24), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on the famous character. Because there is a lot of information on this site, we recommend creating a follow-along to highlight for students what's most important, as well as provide you with some assessment of their participation. For help creating graphic organizers, try Mindomo, (reviewed here).

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Along the Chisholm Trail

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4 to 12
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Here's a well-designed "labor of love" site that introduces a trail used by cattlemen. Along the trail, you'll learn why the Missouri ranchers didn't like the Texas ranchers, why a...more
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Here's a well-designed "labor of love" site that introduces a trail used by cattlemen. Along the trail, you'll learn why the Missouri ranchers didn't like the Texas ranchers, why a longhorn is a great steer, and other vital facts. There's serious history in all this, and the narrative makes it fun to read.

tag(s): westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

Use this site to teach about the "wild west," and how it was affected by the pioneers who settled it. Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the West and Westward Expansion. This site would probably work best with a graphic organizer to accompany it. We recommend Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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African American Odyssey - Library of Congress

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6 to 12
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The Library of Congress offers this nine-part introduction to the history of African Americans. The site relies on primary sources - images, letters, speeches - to illustrate contemporary...more
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The Library of Congress offers this nine-part introduction to the history of African Americans. The site relies on primary sources - images, letters, speeches - to illustrate contemporary views and chronicle their evolution from the Revolution through the civil rights movement. There are hundreds of ways to adapt this material to the classroom, and the site offers numerous suggestions and starting points. This one's a must!

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site for a picture-walk during a unit on African American History, from slavery to Emancipation. Print and hang pictures around the classroom, with students assigned to different stations. Have students rotate around the classroom, looking at a new image every minute. Once students have walked through everything, have a class discussion about what students saw and learned. This activity works best with a graphic organizer - to create one, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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FEMA Hurricane Page - US Government

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6 to 12
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This is another route to government data on forecast information, storm tracks, disaster management information, hurricane preparedness, and related issues. FEMA also publishes a manual...more
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This is another route to government data on forecast information, storm tracks, disaster management information, hurricane preparedness, and related issues. FEMA also publishes a manual titled Surviving the Storm which can be downloaded as an Adobe Acrobat file using the link below.

tag(s): weather (188)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on hurricanes and similar extreme weather systems. Have students examine the site on classroom computers, preferably with the assistance of a graphic organizer. We recommend creating graphic organizers before the activity, giving students focus as well as highlighting what is most important to know from the site. For help making guides, try Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Yugoslavia and the Balkans - BBC

Grades
7 to 12
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This BBC site presents an elegant retracing of the history of the Balkans and their ethnic divisions. While it concentrates on the present, the information includes timelines going...more
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This BBC site presents an elegant retracing of the history of the Balkans and their ethnic divisions. While it concentrates on the present, the information includes timelines going back hundreds of years which show the origins of many present-day conflicts. Good resource for teachers or students working individually or in groups.

tag(s): yugoslavia (2)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on WWII and how borders and political boundaries were changed in the aftermath. This activity will work best if students have a graphic organizer to follow with, we recommend Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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Scottish History - BBC

Grades
6 to 12
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This on-line treatment from the BBC offers lots of depth, particularly in its treatment of early and medieval Scotland. It's not turf that's found in the typical American curriculum,...more
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This on-line treatment from the BBC offers lots of depth, particularly in its treatment of early and medieval Scotland. It's not turf that's found in the typical American curriculum, but this site might appeal to students interested in a world cultures report with a different twist. The site could also be useful as background for study of English literature.

tag(s): britain (35), scotland (7)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on Scottish History or specifically a lesson on Mary Queen of Scots, or the Reformation. Be sure to save the section you want to use as a favorite on classroom computers to ensure easy access for students & to help keep them on task. This learning center would work best with a graphic organizer. To help make one for your class, we recommend Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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Genealogy of the Kings & Queens of Europe

Grades
6 to 12
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Relationships and biographies of important monarchs ...more
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Relationships and biographies of important monarchs

tag(s): britain (35)

In the Classroom

Although it is a little text-heavy, this website is a great way to relay the inter-connectivity between early British monarchs and Christianity. Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the early monarchs and religion. To direct students, we recommend using a graphic organizer to help them focus in on what are the most important parts of the site. For help creating easy graphic organizers, we recommend using a site such as Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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All About the European Union - European Union

Grades
9 to 12
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The EU has created a web page that provides summary information in a format with which most students can cope. This site is still somewhat Eurocentric, but it outlines ...more
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The EU has created a web page that provides summary information in a format with which most students can cope. This site is still somewhat Eurocentric, but it outlines the basic principles behind European cooperation and economic interdependence. As such, it could be a valuable starting point for students interested in exploring the future of Europe.

tag(s): europe (75)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an introductory point for a unit on economic unions such as the EU. Have students explore the site in pairs or cooperative learning groups in order to understand more about the principles and advantages of membership. This activity works well with a graphic organizer to guide students OR as a means for students to explore on their own with the intentions of presenting what they deem to be the most important points to the class. Have cooperative learning groups create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

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Samples of Greetings in Russian

Grades
6 to 12
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This is a simple site that has recorded greetings and farewells in Russian, along with the various translations in English. The phrases are set up in chart form, which include ...more
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This is a simple site that has recorded greetings and farewells in Russian, along with the various translations in English. The phrases are set up in chart form, which include a column that comments on whether the phrase is formal, informal, and other helpful tips. An easy way to get an idea of the Russian language if you haven't heard it.

tag(s): russian (26)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a quick learning center during a unit on Russian Politics or history. Students can use the phrases in speaking or within a graphic organizer. Teachers of the Russian language could also print this to help students review the basic language concepts.

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The Kremlin - A Historical Tour

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6 to 12
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This site offers a tour of the seat of Russia's government, once a sixteenth century fortress. There are extensive photos of the buildings inside the Kremlin, along with short narrative...more
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This site offers a tour of the seat of Russia's government, once a sixteenth century fortress. There are extensive photos of the buildings inside the Kremlin, along with short narrative explaining the role they have played in Russia's history over the past 400 years.

tag(s): russia (38)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite and use it as a learning center or station during a unit on Russia's political evolution over the past centuries. The content stretches well before the last century, but in a way that shows the changes that were made recently and why they are significant. An activity like this will probably work best with a graphic organizer - for help making one, we recommend a site such as Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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Nippon in the World

Grades
9 to 12
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This Japanese site offers a collection of classical Japanese artwork, suitable for study as part of an exposure to Japanese history. The interface isn't the greatest, and the images...more
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This Japanese site offers a collection of classical Japanese artwork, suitable for study as part of an exposure to Japanese history. The interface isn't the greatest, and the images contain watermarks, but the site works fine as an example of the unique nature of Japanese artistic representations.

tag(s): japan (61)

In the Classroom

Use these images in a picture walk around the classroom to introduce or review a unit on some aspect of Japanese culture. Select 10-15 images to be hung around the classroom, with students rotating between them every 30-60 seconds. Have students fill out quickly what they observe and infer about each image, with the intentions of connecting each image to an essential understanding about Japanese culture. For help creating easy and quick graphic organizers for the activity, we recommend a site such as Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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Fog of War - Washington Post

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6 to 12
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The Washington Post presents this extensive site which examines the conduct and consequences of the Gulf War in 1991. Complete with maps, damage assessment charts, and commentary by...more
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The Washington Post presents this extensive site which examines the conduct and consequences of the Gulf War in 1991. Complete with maps, damage assessment charts, and commentary by former commanders, the site chronicles the war's effect on the middle east while discussing the problems inherent in managing a limited conflict. Good starting point for a discussion of the interplay between military, political, and diplomatic interests in American foreign policy.

tag(s): middle east (30)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an extended learning center during a lesson(s) on the Gulf War. Because there is a lot of information on this site, we recommend creating a follow-along or guide to highlight for students what is the most important. For help creating easy sheets, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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Malaysia

Grades
6 to 12
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This site offers historical, cultural, political, and travel information about Malaysia. The reading level may be a bit high for some middle schoolers, but the site could be a great...more
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This site offers historical, cultural, political, and travel information about Malaysia. The reading level may be a bit high for some middle schoolers, but the site could be a great source of research information for studies of other cultures and peoples.

tag(s): asia (73), religions (61)

In the Classroom

Use the historic timeline to study the spread of Islam to Malaysia and the rest of South East Asia during the 15th century. The timeline is extremely detailed and can actually be used as a learning center or station too. To help guide students through the content, we recommend creating a graphic organizer. For help making those, try Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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India and Its Neighbors

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6 to 12
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This site offers a thorough and graphically well-designed introduction to the history, cultures, and 20th century politics of India and its neighbors. While a bit text-heavy, visuals...more
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This site offers a thorough and graphically well-designed introduction to the history, cultures, and 20th century politics of India and its neighbors. While a bit text-heavy, visuals support most of the sections, and the content could be useful for research projects or general information. The site includes a short biography of Mahatma Ghandi. This is a "labor of love" site created by two faculty members at UCLA.

tag(s): india (36)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit studying India. This activity works best if students have a graphic organizer to accompany the information - we recommend a tool such as Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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BBC Monitoring

Grades
6 to 12
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This international news source makes for an excellent resource for a teacher or student looking for current events. The site focuses on providing quality, in-depth information on specific...more
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This international news source makes for an excellent resource for a teacher or student looking for current events. The site focuses on providing quality, in-depth information on specific hot topics - such as the 2009 Iranian Election.

tag(s): britain (35), england (57), news (261)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for a webquest or research paper in a Government or World History class. There are only a few case studies thus far, but there is valuable information that could be used to prepare students for a class debate or discussion through the aforementioned webquest. Create a guide or follow-along for students, helping them highlight and find the important information on the site. Use a site such as Mindomo, (reviewed here) to help make easy graphic organizers for the activity.

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Millennium from National Geographic - National Geographic

Grades
9 to 12
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A beautiful, slightly difficult to navigate site from the National Geographic which will feature new natural history themes throughout 1999. The trick appears to be to click on the...more
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A beautiful, slightly difficult to navigate site from the National Geographic which will feature new natural history themes throughout 1999. The trick appears to be to click on the little icons on the top menu bar to move from one section to another. New sections will be added over the course of the year.

tag(s): ecology (135)

In the Classroom

This site is a little out of date, but offers captivating information and images concerning poverty and other cultural geography themes. Use this site as a learning center or station within a cultural geography classroom. This activity works best if students have a graphic organizer to use as a follow-along - we recommend using a site such as Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here) for easy to make sheets.

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Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me A Map - Univ. of Tennesee

Grades
3 to 8
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Well, as its title states, this site offers the basics on cartography. It's a very good summary that explains the origins of mapmaking, the terms (w/definitions), and also has a ...more
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Well, as its title states, this site offers the basics on cartography. It's a very good summary that explains the origins of mapmaking, the terms (w/definitions), and also has a crossword puzzle. The info could easily be streamlined so the younger kids would understand the material. It also has a listing of suggested reading. Easy site to navigate and is extremely straightforward. Great site for anyone teaching maps.

tag(s): maps (288)

In the Classroom

This would be an excellent introductory activity for students learning basic map-building skills. Have students look at the site in cooperative learning groups or pairs, with the intentions of noting the valuable information listed on this site. We recommend creating graphic organizers to guide students through the material as well as highlight what is most important. For help creating graphic organizers, try Mindomo, (reviewed here).

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Tour the U.S. Capitol - US Government

Grades
6 to 12
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This site from the Architect of the U.S. Capitol offers historical information as well as a collection of photos showing key features. There is also an "interactive tour," but the ...more
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This site from the Architect of the U.S. Capitol offers historical information as well as a collection of photos showing key features. There is also an "interactive tour," but the site navigation is complex enough that you should probably do some serious previewing before turning students loose on this one.

tag(s): architecture (83)

In the Classroom

If teaching about initial plans for the construction of DC and how those developed, use the images from this site to compliment a class discussion or lecture. Within the teacher and students page, there are numerous images that detail L'enfant's original ideas for DC. Teachers can incorporate these in graphic organizers or even a slide-show over the interactive whiteboard.

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The Capitol - An Interactive Tour - University of Virginia

Grades
6 to 12
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Well, sort of. This site from the University of Virginia offers lots of images of artwork and statues in the U.S. Capitol, as well as additional references, but interactive 3D ...more
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Well, sort of. This site from the University of Virginia offers lots of images of artwork and statues in the U.S. Capitol, as well as additional references, but interactive 3D it isn't. Still, it's an interesting collection of images for those interested in a glimpse of what's inside.

tag(s): architecture (83)

In the Classroom

Use any of the separate sections on this website as learning center or stations during lesson(s) on the architecture and symbolism of our capitol's historic buildings. Have students explore the site individually or cooperative learning groups as an introductory activity. Because there is a lot of material on the site, create follow-alongs to guide students and highlight what is most important on the site. For help making easy graphic organizers, try: Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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