Make a Plan: Graphic Organizers
The types of graphic organizers are limitless. Some graphic organizers can look boring. Thus, instead of a basic story map, have kids draw a mountain or a roller coaster track. At the bottom, have them jot down a few notes about their setting and main characters. The conflict should be written at the bottom of the mountain or coaster. Then, have them write about five main events on the mountain slope. At the peak of the mountain should be the climax. On the other side of the mountain is resolution and falling action.
Sandwich graphic organizers will be a hit with any fourth grade class. Kids can construct a favorite sandwich out of construction paper. They need to have two pieces of bread and three fillings. The bread of the sandwich can be used to note a topic sentence and conclusion sentence. The filling can be the backdrop for three supporting details. Staple the sandwiches together and kids can use it to write an informational paragraph. This graphic organizer can also be used to help kids write a nonfiction or expository summary.
Using graphic organizers for writing is essential for prewriting, organizing ideas and brainstorming. A simple cluster map is perfect for brainstorming. Use one for each character in a story. Have children make one large circle in the center and five to six small circles stemming from the center circle. In the center circle, write the name of the character and whether or not it is a protagonist or antagonist. In the surrounding circles, students should write down character traits such as physical appearance, personality traits, and other important ideas about that person.
Instead of circle clusters, kids can make flowers with a main idea in the center and supporting ideas on the petals. Using a spider to plan a story about Halloween is also a fun idea. The setting can be on the body of the spider with the sensory details on its legs. Another idea for example, is to plan an informational report about the sun on a sun graphic organizer. The possibilities for kids to make unique graphic organizers are endless.