Use Visual Organizers To Focus On Thinking

There are many ways visual thinkers can organize information.

For every human sense there is a learning style. Most of us specialize in one learning style. For visual learners, graphic or visual organizers are a top asset to assist with comprehension, cognition and analysis. Graphic organizers are tools that facilitate the visualization of concepts, relationships and facts. They can help students of any age organize their thoughts, and allow for easier interpretation of data. There are a variety of ways to organize information and each focus on organizing different kinds of information. While visual organizers can be made with common computer programs, we’ll focus on those that can be made with simple pen and paper.


Visual Organizing Types

1. When hierarchical information needs to be organized to show superordinate and subordinate information, network trees are best.

Step 1: Draw or place one large oval above a row of two smaller ovals. The one large oval represents more important information.

Step 2: Draw three smaller ovals beneath the two.

Step 3: Connect all of the ovals in a top-down manner.

2. A problem and solution map can be used to organize cause and effect problems and solutions.

Step 1: Draw a vertical row of two boxes on the left side of the paper and two arrows pointing to a larger box in the center.

Step 2: Label the box on the left “influence” and the box in the center “cause”.

Step 3: Draw an arrow from the center box to a diamond on the right.

Step 4: Label the diamond “effect”.

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Step 5: Draw an arrow from the bottom of the center box to a rectangle beneath it.

Step 6: Label the rectangle, “solution”.

Each of the two boxes are labeled “Influence.” The center box is labeled “Cause.” An arrow points from the center box to a diamond on the right. The diamond is labeled “Effect.” An arrow points from the bottom of the center box to a rectangle beneath it. The rectangle is labeled “Solution.”

3. Compare and contrast matrices.

Matrices help compare different concepts’ attributes.

Step 1: Draw a table with three columns and three rows creating nine cells.

Step 2: In the column on the left, label the cells in each row “attribute 1,” “attribute 2,” and “attribute 3.”

Step 3: Fill each cell with the most pertinent attribute starting with “attribute 1”.

4. Continuum scales can be used to organize information along a linear dimension, moving from left to right in scale, representing time, amount, or degree.

Step 1: Draw a straight horizontal line.

Step 2: Draw a short vertical line at each end of the continuum representing an beginning and endpoint, or a low and high point.

Step 3: Label each endpoint either “beginning,” “end,” “high,” or “low,” or whatever attribute that can be represented in a continuum.

Step 4: Fill the continuum with data points moving from left to right.

5. Cycle maps organize cyclical or circular information with no beginning or endpoints.

Step 1: Draw four squares, and like hours in a clock, make points at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 hour marks. Or imagine the squares representing compass directions, and place them accordingly in due north, south, east and west points.

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Step 2: Connect each of the boxes with arrows in a clockwise manner.

Step 3: Label the boxes, adding information inside that sequentially relates to the next box in a clockwise manner.