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.
Grades4 to 6
In the ClassroomPrint materials included with this lesson and use as an addition to a current writing and reading comprehension units. This would make an excellent addition to standardized test preparations to help students analyze and assess readings provided during testing. Extend this lesson beyond science texts. Use lesson components and ideas for social studies and all other non-fiction reading materials.
Grades4 to 12
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In the ClassroomView stories on the site together to understand the components of the site and discuss how different choices in characters and settings lead to different story outcomes. (Be sure to preview stories before sharing, since there is "public"' content.) Watch the tutorials together on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) before students begin to write stories. Use a graphic organizer to "map out" the story before writing. Create a short story together as a class to become familiar using the site. Assign a group of students to create an interactive story each week to share on your classroom website or blog. Have students create a story map before beginning a story on inklewriter; use a tool such as 25 Language Arts Graphic Organizers, reviewed here. Create class stories to teach about literature, geography, reading comprehension, history, science concepts, and more. As a more "serious" approach, use Inklewriter to present opinion pieces where you take a position and allow readers to click on questions about it. They could also click on statements expressing opposing views so you can write counterarguments to their points. This could end up being a powerful way to present an argument and evidence as required by Common Core writing standards. A graphic organizer for planning and organizing evidence is a must! Teachers of gifted could use this for students to develop elaborate fictional or informational pieces. If you work with students who struggle, scaffold with a template for them to organize their thoughts.
Includes an education-only area for teachers and students
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be shared by URL
Grades6 to 12
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In the ClassroomThe reading level of this site is rather challenging. Have weaker readers work together with stronger ones. While discussing scientists and inventors, use this site as a resource for gathering information. Have small groups of students research scientists from the same time period. Have them research their contributions including reactions of others to their discovery or invention. Research why these inventions were particularly important and the scientific knowledge that changed as a result. Have them present their findings to the class by creating a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Then, if you would like to take your students critical thinking up a notch, you could have the small groups compare the different inventions and decide how and why the earlier inventions had to come before a later invention could be developed. For this you might want to have students use a collaborative graphic organizer like Canva, reviewed here, and have them report out their thoughts and discoveries to the class.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomShare this site on classroom computers for students to read and listen to the Night Zookeeper story then encourage students to create their own animal to be added to the zoo. Use the included graphic organizer to help students design their animal. Create a link to the site on classroom computers and allow students to explore and discover site activities. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to create a visual comparison of animals included in the zoo or imaginary animals vs. real animals.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomDemonstrate creating a mind map or other diagram on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use Draw.io to create family trees or flow charts. Learning support students could team up to map out the important concepts from a unit visually as a review activity. Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature, social studies, or science. Have students demonstrate their understanding by creating a graphic organizer about the main points or map out a step-by-step process (life cycle). Be sure they name their organizer BEFORE they start work with their name --or code name-- so you know who did it (they could EMAIL it to you!) or have them print their results to turn them in. Anonymously share and compare different students' "views" of a unit so students can "see it through someone else's eyes."
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse your interactive whiteboard and projector to introduce this site. Use the Trash Tracker lesson as is or adapt for your own use. Consider having students work in groups of four, and have each group explore a different expedition (listed by year and selected by you). Have the small groups of students investigate the first several days of the selected expedition together. After that, have pairs take notes about what they learn, using Memo Notepad, reviewed here, then have partners compare notes for the days they investigated. Once they've investigated their expedition, remix the groups so you have one student from each of the different expeditions together. Have them share information and determine what was alike and different for each year. Use a graphic organizer or mind mapping tool such as WiseMapping, reviewed here, to help students keep track of the information. Once done have students access the additional resources pages (the blogs will often have more information for the expeditions), and look at the maps. Older students may want to investigate information about careers related to GIS, Conservation, and Marine Biology by using the link at the bottom of the page.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to introduce comparisons to your students on your interactive whiteboard or projector. After demonstrating how to use the site, create a link on classroom computers for students to make their own comparisons to be printed and shared. Divide students into 3 groups - one for each type of comparison essay - and have them create comparisons for their type, then share and compare with other students. Change student learning by having them create "annotated pictures" to illustrate the different types of comparisons using Szoter, reviewed here. Use this site with gifted students as a way for them to explore subjects more deeply than discussed in class. Use this site with ESL/ELL students to help organize information easily and as a visual representation of class material.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to promote visual literacy and as an example for reading graphs. Have students select another topic and make a similar graph of their own. Use one of the graph makers available at the site "Statistics - Johnnie's Math Page" (reviewed here). Look at paintings from different cultures and ask how color interacts with other artistic elements like shape, design, placement, etc. to convey meaning. Have students make an assortment of works of the same design, varying color choice depending on which culture is going to view the work. If you have student creating infographics, this chart is a must in selecting font colors and more to guide emotional impact of the graphics.
GradesK to 12
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In the ClassroomCurriki has a number of ways to benefit teachers and students. Use Curriki as a resource listed on your website for parents and students to have extra opportunities for additional practice or enrichment. Use as a way to organize your digital resources. The lesson plan and webquest templates are user friendly and promote best practices. While growing in your professional development by connecting with teachers worldwide, let your class learn with other classes worldwide. Curriki encourages you to think critically of your own lessons, but also lessons suggested.
Grades5 to 12
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In the ClassroomUse this resource to introduce the unit on cells. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Students can review the cells and create one of these Graphic Organizers, reviewed here, of information and then discuss the differences between the different types of cells. Use for continuous review until the cell parts are learned and students have mastered the game and the quiz.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to navigate the icons for editing and creating a mindmap. Icons and commands are the same as in any office and free applications that most people use. View the free demo for an introduction of using Wisemapping. Use the demo editor to play with the tools and learn what they do. Note: the demo function does not allow you to save your creation as it is a sandbox area for learning. Allow students an opportunity to learn to play first without teacher direction as each person will find different ways to use wisemapping for their best benefit. Click on a set of words to edit the words, color, font, etc. in the bubble. Drag items easily around the screen by clicking and dragging the icon to drop into a new configuration. Add "icons" and flags anywhere on your mindmap. Add a "note" to a bubble anywhere. The note appears like a little sticky note on the bubble and expands when clicked on. Add a "link" to any of the text on the wisemap that leads to any link on the web you specify. Export as a scalable vector graphic (svg), PDF document, or image file. "Share" to work collaboratively with others. Users must have a login in order to share and publish. Click on the "history" of a wisemap to view the contributions of others.
Assign sections of current curriculum topic to groups of students to map out and explain in detail. Link to outside web pages and pictures and create notes with additional study hints and information. Assign a different group to review information for accuracy and add additional information and explanations. Using this process, a wisemap of a chapter or unit can be created easily and efficiently while benefiting all learners.
There are countless possibilities at this mental mapping site. Demonstrate the activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own graphic organizers. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given topic. Have students organize any concepts you study; color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, question; map out a story, plotline, or LIFETIME; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings based on pivotal points; plan a "tour" for a "thought museum." Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature or social studies: have students demonstrate their understanding by completing a graphic organizer about the main points. Be sure that they RENAME it before they start work to an individual name so you know who did it (they could EMAIL it to you!) or have them print their results to turn in.
Grades7 to 10
In the ClassroomHave students click through the site as the instructional part of the lesson which would be great for introductory physics or physical science. Students can work through the module taking notes as they proceed. Then, have students create a graphic organizer comparing both the microscope differences, and have them use the view of the telescope function. Have students draw or take screen shots using a program such as Jing (reviewed here) of the views from the different telescopes. Have students add analysis bubbles to the pictures comparing the views.
Grades4 to 12
Bonus: There's an app for that! For the iphone, of course!
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In the ClassroomUse your projector and interactive whiteboard to show your students the directions for getting points by selecting the correct clues and solving the mystery. To begin with, as a class, read a mystery and discuss what the clues might be and whether they implicate or exonerate each suspect. Once the students have volunteered their ideas for which sentences are clues, submit them to see the score. The program will highlight the answers you should have had, if you got any wrong. Model for your students a discussion about why those are the correct answers and why the ones they submitted weren't. Eventually they can have this discussion by themselves in small groups. Those of you with multiple classes will want to create a league for each class.
Eventually you can have small groups of students compete against each other by creating leagues. Have your students come to consensus about the clue sentences and who the real perpetrator is by voting using Tricider, reviewed here, or Decide Already, reviewed here.
Grades4 to 8
tag(s): christmas (48)
In the ClassroomUse this site as a resource during a historic examination of Christmas. Have students re-write their own version of the story using a different setting, time period, or both be sure that they consider how costumes, sets, characters, folk dances,music, landmarks, locations, events, and animals might be different. Have students consider the Dance of the Snowflakes scene in The Nutcracker. Discuss what animals they might find living in this kind of habitat? What else would you likely find living in this habitat (plants, trees, insects, etc.)? Have students record their ideas on a graphic organizer and draw pictures to go along with it, or replace the pencil and paper with a blog tool like Penzu, reviewed here. With Penzu you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations.Have students compare or contrast The Nutcracker with another folk tale, fairy tale or story they have read or are familiar with.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomClick on the links to read about how your students can create a Threaded Adventure. The author of the Threaded Adventure suggests the use of a wiki to have your students create their very own "Choose Your Own Adventure" because wikis are easy of use for the students. If you are unfamiliar with wikis, see TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Wikis can be private or public. Just be sure you have parent permission to publish student work online.
Have your students choose a favorite short story or picture book your class has already read. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to reread the story stopping and asking students what direction the story could take if the author hadn't finished the story, or suggest some "what ifs" yourself. Use Gliffy, an online graphic organizer reviewed here, to brainstorm with your class all the different paths the story could take. Once you and the class have decided on several different paths, go to your wiki and demonstrate how to create the "Threaded Adventure" using links to different pages. When your students understand the procedure, have small groups finish writing up the Threaded Adventure themselves. Once they've completed the class Threaded Adventure, they can use a story of their own to repeat the process.
For older students, you may want to go through the process above, and then have them put their story, or parts of their story, on MixedInk reviewed here to get ideas for story branches from their classmates. They could then use Gliffy reviewed here to organize the paths of their story. Once they've made final decisions about the different directions their story will take, they would then publish it on the wiki.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomShow this to your students on the interactive whiteboard as way to get an overview of a new concept. Have students search a specific topic such as insecticides in environmental science and then have them go through graphical exploration together. Later in the study of the same concept, have students create their own graphic organizers on the concept, linking to other articles they find on the web or to their own explanations of concepts using images and text. Use a tool such as Scribblar (reviewed here).
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomStart off by asking students to write a journal entry to answer and explain, "Do you ever think that you might have it easier compared to some other kids?" Show the video on your classroom whiteboard or projector. Have students use one of TeachersFirst online compare/contrast graphic organizers such as the Venn Diagram tool, reviewed here, to juxtapose their way of life with the way of life of people their age who have very little compared to them. Teenagers need reality checks when it comes to their wants versus their needs. As a follow-up, have students work in groups to brainstorm ways that they could actually make a difference for children who endure lives of poverty. Check with your school nurse or social worker to see if there is a family in the community that could use some extra kindness and have your students come up with a plan that your class could put into action right now. Have them look at Do Something, reviewed here, to get an idea of what type of activities are already out there and are successful. Use Dotstorming, reviewed here, to comment and vote on different ideas. Alternatively, you and your students could check out Day of Service, reviewed here, to find volunteer opportunities in your area. Let them experience the enduring lesson and joy that comes from helping others.
Grades8 to 11
In the ClassroomTry having students work through the cartoon tour of the New Zealand environment, having them keep a graphic organizer comparing the biodiversity and environmental practices to those that are practiced in their community or state. Challenge students to compare using a tool such as the Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here. Have students research unfamiliar terms. Perhaps share what you are doing in science with a cultures class and work with them to create a mini culture lesson to pair up with your biodiversity lesson.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomCreate a new map by entering the details such as a title. Choose from the template styles given. Preview the template, zoom in and out, and scroll around the mindmap using the simple tools. Click the "Edit Content" tab to change each node in your mindmap. Edit the name of the node, the description, and upload or link to a picture. Nodes can also link to a You tube video. When done, click preview to not only see the finished mindmap, but to publish on the Spicynodes site or copy the embed code for placing on a wiki, blog, or other site.
There are countless possibilities at this mental mapping site. Demonstrate the activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own graphic organizers. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Create a site map that guides users throughout the features of your class website.
Collaborative Projects: Have small groups research together a topic such as unsolved mysteries of the world, planets, legends from their countries, plants, famous mathematicians, or any topic that can be broken down into parts. Each student would have their own node and color and would then upload pictures, videos, links, and other information they have found about their part of the topic. If the whole class is researching a topic, students with the "like" assignments could get together to share information and create their part of the small group node (also know as jigsaw in cooperative learning). Once all the nodes are completed, the original small group would share information with each other. There are a variety of ways students could use this mindmap. You could just leave it at the small group share out. Or, you could have the groups decide what information is important enough to present to the class and put their ideas on a Ryeboard document, reviewed here. A third step could be that once they've honed down the information, they could modify their learning and create a presentation for the class in a variety of formats: LiveSlides, reviewed here, or Animoto, reviewed here are only two of the many presentation formats we have reviewed on TeachersFirst.
Student project ideas: Have students... organize any concepts you study; color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, question; map out a story, plotline, or LIFETIME; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings(?) based on pivotal points; plan a "tour" for a "thought museum."
Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature or social studies: have students demonstrate their understanding by completing a graphic organizer about the main points. Be sure that they RENAME it before they start work to an individual name so you know who did it (they could EMAIL it to you!) or have them print their results to turn them in.