Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daily Assignment #19: Teaching Graphic Organizers

Teachers have a tendency to give students graphic organizers and assume that students know how to use them. Each type of graphic organizer needs to have a specific lesson, which explains the purpose and use.

In the first lesson the graphic organizer is chosen by the teacher and needs to be modeled by the teacher, with students filling in the pertinent data with the teacher.  The next time, the graphic organizer is used, the teacher fills in the main topics and information with the students.  The next time, the students fill in the main topics and with the teacher they fill in the information.  The next time, the students fill in the main topics and the information independently.  By letting students take responsibility for the graphic organizer in steps, ensures more success when they are required to complete one independently.

Notice I keep saying "the next time."  That's because one step may require the teacher to model it many times before students are able to do the work independently.  

Use the same graphic organizer many times and in different content areas.  Thinking skills and graphic organizers, as a rule, are not content specific.  Students need to recognize this, as well.

Also, when introducing a graphic organizer, I recommend, using familiar content so that the focus is on the how to use the graphic organizer, not new content.

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