Teach With Graphic Organizers

Teach With Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers are useful educational tools in any subject area. They help students organize their thoughts and ideas for answering questions, function as a pre-writing tool for essays and provide a visual display of information for students who need visual aids in their learning. They can be an easy way to differentiate instruction for a variety of learning styles as well. If you want to teach with graphic organizers you need to teach your students use them first.


1. Make a copy of your graphic organizer that you can project onto a dry erase board. If you are using an overhead projector, photocopy your graphic organizer onto a transparency paper. If you are using an LCD projector, put a copy of the graphic organizer into your computer’s word-processing program.

2. Project the graphic organizer onto the screen and explain all of the parts of the organizer to the students. If the organizer is a table, show them the data that belong in each section. If the organizer is a web, show them draw new lines and add more information to the web. Students need to understand the purpose of a graphic organizer before they can use it properly.

3. Work together with your students to fill out the graphic organizer as an example. Use your dry erase markers and ask students to help you fill out the graphic organizer for a simple situation. If they will use an organizer like this when they read a short story, for instance, then you might work as a class to fill in the same type of graphic organizer for a fairy tale that everyone already knows. This way they can practice with the new graphic organizer format using familiar material and information.

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4. Give your students opportunities to use a variety of graphic organizers in the classroom. While one student may find T-charts especially helpful, another student might prefer Venn diagrams. When you expose your students to several different types of graphic organizers and show them the proper ways to use these organizers, you give them a chance to find a new tool that they can use on their own for future projects.