Saturday, March 10, 2012

Resources: Graphic Organizers

NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, I wasn't able to scan the documents I needed for the marijuana vocabulary activity. I'm hoping to get that done this week before AAHPERD. Here's a quick post I had started a while ago and left unfinished.

Graphic organizers allow students to visualize main concepts or ideas before diving into a written piece of work. Long used by language arts teachers and elementary school teachers, graphic organizers also have their place in a health classroom. In my health class, I try to add writing to our lessons and units whenever I can. Students have written letters to the editor about school lunch, discussed how song lyrics may influence sexual behavior, and have written mini-persuasive essays about why they should help stop bullying. This is in addition to any reflective writing that accompanies some other projects, too.

Using graphic organizers prevents problems from occurring in the latter stages of a paper. Students are allowed to organize their thoughts and link them together before they begin to write their final product. Graphic organizers are often needed for students on IEPs/504s, but they can assist all students with their learning.

Below are three resources I've used when I need a graphic organizer:

Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers. The graphic organizers on this website can be edited with text on your computer. This makes it easy to personalize graphic organizers to your own classroom or specific topic. Approximately forty different graphic organizers are organized by category.

Education Place: Graphic Organizers. This is the first site that pops up on Google if you enter "graphic organizers" into the search box. Like Holt Interactive, Education Place includes approximately forty different graphic organizers, all conveniently available in PDF form to download. There are no preview options on this page, so you'll have to take a stab at what a graphic organizer will look like based on its name. Each graphic organizer is also available in Spanish.

If you're trying to use electronic graphic organizers, there are a few options that I'm less familiar with. is one I have blogged about in the past. Inspiration is another program to check out that many educators are familiar with.

I make sure to model how to use the graphic organizer before students begin brainstorming. I'm lucky enough where I can throw one up on the Smartboard and fill one in with the markers; I could also project the editable graphic organizers from Holt on the board and type the information in from the computer., mentioned above, is another one I have used with my classes. No matter how they are used, graphic organizers can help students streamline their thinking, make connections between ideas, and help students create better pieces of written work.

As always, please e-mail me with any questions, comments, or concerns!
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