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Writing graphic organizers help students to organize their thoughts. Graphic organizers can organize ideas from a brainstorming session or help students to come up with ideas. Basically, the main purpose of a graphic organizer is to help students not sit and stare at a blank piece of paper for hours on end. Graphic organizers get students writing!
Topic Graphic Organizer
In pre-writing, students are either coming up with topics and ideas or organizing jumbled thoughts that flow from their pencils. To find a good topic for an essay or paragraph, students can use a word web or an onion graphic organizer. An onion graphic organizer helps students to come up with a strong topic, and a handout is included in this lesson.
Many times students will choose a topic that is too broad. Students need to narrow down the topic. The onion graphic organizer will help students to narrow their topics, especially if students are writing something short like a paragraph.
For example, if a student wants to write about sports, there are many directions that he or she could go with the sports topic. The onion graphic organizer will help students "peel away the layers" to get to a good solid topic. First, the student needs to write sports in the first layer. Next, the student could narrow the topic in the following order: school fall sports, football, football athletes at the middle school level, reasons why one should play football at the middle school. The student went from the topic of sports to reasons why one should play middle school football. There are many directions that sports could be narrowed into a great topic. This is just one example.
Ideas Generator Graphic Organizer
Some types of graphic organizers help students to come up with ideas that relate to a topic. These are called writing webs, which are sometimes called cluster graphic organizers.
Writing webs or cluster graphic organizers have a circle in the center. Circles attach to the middle circle, like spokes on a wheel. A sample one is included in this lesson. To use the cluster graphic organizer, students need to select a topic in which they have an interest, such as a summer vacation. Then, they need to fill in the five attached circles with ideas, such as Kennedy Space Center, Jacksonville Zoo, Adventure Landing Water Park, visiting cousins, and collecting shells on the beach.
When the writing web or cluster graphic organizer is filled out, students have a topic with which to write a topic sentence for a paragraph. Also, they have ideas for detail sentences of the body of a paragraph. Or, an essay can be developed. Students can write an introduction from the topic chosen. Each circle on the outside of the center circle could be a separate paragraph for an essay.
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Summary, Story, Essay & Memoir Graphic Organizers
The graphic organizer can help students write in an organized fashion and stay on topic. Many students will go off on tangents or write about several unconnected ideas just to finish an assignment. Graphic organizers can help students organize just about every kind of genre of writing. For examples there are graphic organizers for summaries, story maps, essays, memoirs, and 5 paragraph essays.
Story Graphic Organizer
Many students struggle to write a story. A plot chart graphic organizer can help student hone the beginning, middle and end of the story so that they do not ramble when they cannot figure out how to end the story. Specifically, it will help them to organize the exposition, conflicts in the rising action, climax falling action and resolution. A plot chart graphic organizer is included in this lesson.
Plot Chart Graphic Organizer
The plot chart graphic organizer gives students room to write down the setting and names of the main characters for the exposition. For the rising action, there are places to write down three conflicts that happen before the climax. Students may not need three conflicts, but they should at least have two.
The box for the climax gives room for the student to write the big turning point of the story, which is a big conflict. The falling action is events that happen on the way to the resolution. A small box is included for this. Last, there is a box for the resolution, which is the ending of the story where all of the loose ends are tied up.
Filling out the plot chart graphic organizer will help students to write the story because the framework is already organized. Students just have to figure out the dialog and write the story.
Graphic organizers can always be part of a teacher's writing lesson plans. This lesson provides several handouts of graphic organizers, and there are many others on the Internet. Graphic organizers take time for the students to fill out, but the time is well worth the effort. It helps students start writing and stay organized.
Teaching Using Writing Graphic Organizers
The articles in this series will explain and give ideas on how to use graphic organizers.