There are dozens of great brainstorming and organizing tools available on the web to help students prepare for writing assignments and develop their skills.
For some reason, writing tends to be the task many students dread the most. As a result, teachers are always on the lookout for ways to make the assignment more enjoyable – or at least less despised! Incorporating graphic organizers into the writing and learning process is a great way to get students to think outside the box and engage more willingly in the process.
What Are Graphic Organizers?
A graphic organizer is a visual aid that helps depict the correlation between ideas, facts, or concepts. The most common visual learning strategies are concept mapping, webbing, and mind mapping.
A concept map creates a visual representation of the relationship between ideas. Usually encompassed in a box or circle, each idea is linked to another by the word or phrase that describes the relationship. This process helps students see how a story or concept can be narrowed down into specific topics.
By creating a web, students will see how their central idea is linked to supporting details. They’ll realize the varied groups of information encompassed in a single lesson are all tied together.
This brainstorming process is perfect for launching a writing project. It also provides guidance on where to proceed during the research process. Unlike other brainstorming techniques, webbing has some organization and structure to it. Webs help students arrange their ideas by sorting them according to relevance and importance.
A mind map is the visual representation of hierarchical information. Starting in the middle and branching out, the visuals progress from the thesis to the supporting evidence.
Students can replace traditional note-taking techniques with mind mapping for a much more visually stimulating result.
How Can Graphic Organizers Help Educators Teach?
Proponents of this teaching style claim it is the most effective visual learning strategy. Graphic organizers help students see the little details amidst the big picture. These are great tools for helping students structure their thinking.
Another great benefit of graphic organizers is their flexibility. They can be used to help facilitate learning in all subject areas.
Additionally, when students use graphic organizers, the teacher has a better understanding of the student’s level of understanding. This makes it easy to offer suggestions and point out areas of improvement.
How Can Graphic Organizers Help Students Learn?
By using graphic organizers, students can learn to:
- Visualize the general concept and break it down into manageable, specific ideas.
- Analyze the correlation between two ideas or themes.
- Structure their writing projects better and make the entire process easier.
- Communicate their ideas.
- Visually represent their thinking process.
- Explore all possible options by brainstorming.
- Determine the validity, relevance, and correlation of evidence.
- Enhance understanding when reading and writing.
- Easily identify the main elements of a composition.
- Evaluate cause and effect.
- Compare and contrast ideas.
- Implement problem solving skills
- Enhance organizational skills
- Expand their vocabulary.
- Recognize sequences, hierarchies, and patterns.
What Are The Best Graphic Organization Tools?
There are various ways you can go about creating concept maps, webs, and mind maps.
There are some great software programs you can buy or download. For example, check out Inspiration, Edraw or Creately. These programs allow your students to create their own visuals and explore technology.
Otherwise, you can download pre-formatted templates. For example, here are some graphic organizer templates that are specifically designed to help facilitate the writing process.
If you need even more inspiration, check out this list of graphic organizer resources. You’re sure to find what you need there!
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Creately is an easy to use, easy access, affordable web based diagramming tool