Graphic Organizers

Adapted from a presentation by Martha Larkin at the 1996 R/CT Symposium

Guidelines for Designing Graphic Organizers (GO)
  1. Determine information to be used for the graphic organizer.
  2. Note the main idea and key points.
  3. Choose a design format.
  4. Represent inter-relationships among ideas.
  5. Include personal reactions, if appropriate.
  6. Include items that will require the use of higher-order thinking skills.
  7. Include information that represents a summary or synthesis of the whole lesson, chapter, or unit.
  8. Include information that will aid in the reconstruction of the original information.
  9. Use adequate connecting lines.
Guidelines for Assisting Students in the Creation of Graphic Organizers
  1. Discuss with students what graphic organizers are and how they can be used.
  2. Show students examples and non-examples of graphic organizers.
  3. Use a completed graphic organizer to teach a lesson or fill in a GO while teaching a lesson.
  4. Let students help the teacher fill in a blank GO on the overhead projector.
  5. Give students a partially completed GO. Teacher has the same GO on the overhead. Teacher and students fill in together or students may fill in together working in small groups or individually.
  6. Students are given a blank GO to fill in working together in small groups or individually.
  7. Give students opportunities to create own GO. Let them design their own format. They may work individually or in small groups.
  8. Let students present their GO to class to teach a mini-lesson or to explain why they chose a particular format.
Graphic Organizers

Definition Uses in Instruction

  • Locate & remember key facts and ideas
  • Introduce and/or rearrange text information
  • Written & spatial arrangement of information
  • Summarize text chapters/units
  • View information as a meaningful whole
  • Study guides
  • Inter-relationships among ideas
  • Alternative test formats

Reprinted with permission, The Collaborator, a publication of the Resource/Collaborative Teaching Masters in Education Program at the College of William and Mary, Vol. 5 (2), Spring 1997.