Saturday, February 11, 2012

Graphic Organizers

     Prewriting is such an important part of my current Writer's Workshop. In fact, I'm sure if you ask my students, they would say we spend way too much time preparing to write instead of actually writing. I appreciate their "gusto," but their final prodcut following a strong prewriting session is noticeably different than if I just let them go to it with paper and pencil (computer and Google Docs). Elementary school writers need that guidance. Adults need that guidance. I don't write anything without first jotting down some sort of outline or note about my topic. So here are some sites I use to find great Graphic Organizers. I'd say that 50% of the time I make my own though, but they are typically based on ones I have seen published.

TeacherVision

     Hit this jackpot the other day. Tons of resources here for a number of grades. This site does a great job of tweaking standard GOs to fit your needs, no matter how specific they may be.

Graphic Organizers by John Rickey

     Good collection of basic GOs. Many of them would be great for primary grades because of the way the paper is lined.

Instant Poetry Forms

     This is sort of like Mad Libs meets poetry. Basically, you choose the type of poem you'd like to create, and then fill in the form based on the very clear parameters and directions. This site would be a great way to provide some "hurdle help" for those struggling poets who do not have the gift of free flowing verse.

Freeology

     This site is a little heavy on the ads, and I can't seem to tell if the GOs are organized in any way. The quality of the GOs might be the best out of all of these sites though. When you have some time, scroll through the different pages to find what works for you. Most of these GOs are in a pdf format, but I did find some that are Word documents that you can edit to suit your needs.

Tools 4 Students-IPad


Itunes description: "25 graphic organizers for students to use to organize their thinking while reading or preparing to write. Covers all common comprehension skills: cause /effect, main idea/detail, sequence events, pro/con, story elements, characterization, word meaning, plot, KWL and much more. Save to your device and/or email. Use again and again. Project on board and collaborate with team members. Use to organize notes while reading or use them as a prewrite to school papers. Great tool for instructors as well."




     There are right ways and wrong ways to use Graphic Organizers, just as there are good times and bad times to use them as well. When you do decide to use them though, try digging around on some of these sites for some good ideas. Do you use Graphic Organizers in your classroom? If so, which ones do you use?

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