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How Graphic Organizers Are Used as Learning Tools Across the Curriculum

written by: Jennifer Fidalgo • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 4/5/2012

Here are some tips on using graphic organizers as effective learning tools in the classroom that help students organize important information so that they can study for tests, write reports and summarize textbook chapters and novels, while weeding out the not so important info in the process.

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    Effective Study Aids

    Graphic organizers help students study for tests more effectively. They make effective study aids because students can visualize concepts more efficiently. Information is presented in a simple way that leaves out unnecessary information. This allows students to focus on key points and information that will be used on a test.

    Teach students to make a graphic organizer by writing the subject of the test first and then listing important concepts related to the subject that were covered in the classroom. Next, supporting details can be added to each concept.

    The student will find it much easier to use a graphic organizer to study, rather than a whole textbook chapter where there is so much information presented. Using graphic organizers can help to summarize notes, chapters and even entire books.

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    Excellent as a Prewriting Strategy

    Graphic organizers are used to help students write reports and essays in the classroom. As a prewriting strategy, use graphic organizers to help students organize their thoughts so that they have a clarity in their writing. This helps students get started writing because they have a clear picture of what they are going to write. This visual tool helps children get comfortable with their writing abilities. Essays will be more focused when a graphic organizer is used.

    Students create graphic organizers as a prewriting strategy by writing the topic of the report first. Next, they can add some key points that they would like to address. Then, information is added under each important concept. Students can add an introduction and summary which addresses the information covered in the essay and then add a paragraph for each.

    Students also list who, what, where, when and why as a prewriting strategy. This graphic organizer is useful for current event and news articles. The student simply answers the questions related to the article's topic and summarizes the information.

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    Useful for Comparing and Contrasting

    Students use graphic organizers to compare and contrast two different things. For example, students compare birds and bats by using a Venn Diagram which contains two circles that overlap each other. The differences are written in the part of the circle that is separate and the similarities are written in the part of the circles that interconnect. Anything which can be compared can use a Venn Diagram. Books, characters, math equations, or field trips-- the list is endless for use of a Venn Diagram.

    Venn-diagram-AB 

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    Great For Summarizing Information

    Students can summarize all kinds of information by using graphic organizers. This strategy can be used to summarize notes, textbooks or even whole novels. Once children understand how to create graphic organizers, they will be able to use them as an effective learning tool. Information can be broken down into important concepts no matter how much of it is given. Just taking key ideas presents a clear summary for students and may make the ideas presented, easier to understand.

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    Teachers and parents may need to work with students when they first begin using graphic organizers. There are forms that contain a model for filling out graphic organizers that can be found at http://www.teachervision.fen.com/graphic-organizers/printable/6293.html. These can be used until students become proficient at summarizing information in a clear way.

References

  • Classroom experience.