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Sun Sep 20, 2015 16:42

OMG!!! I write that because during the entire time I am reading the articles I am amazed by the new information on graphic organizers and fell validation for the emphasis that I put on teaching students to use GOs. A little back ground history... In Cabarrus County where I taught fourth grade for 5 years we had a county-wide initiative to integrate Thinking Maps in our daily instruction. Thinking Maps is a program of different GOs and how to use them in relation to content. I first I didn't think that they would have any effect on my student's learning but they did. Every year, I incorporated them into more of the curriculum. We used thinking maps in social studies, reading elements, literature groups, writing, math, and science. These maps were semantic maps that displayed compare/contrast, cause and effect, attributes, sequence, topics and subtopics,relationships and more. Unfortunately they were not digital unless I created them in a smart notebook file. Some students would pick up on the importance and the effectiveness of the GOs right away while it was a struggle for others to see the usefulness. I agree with the article that says you must put in an adequate amount of training for the effectiveness to be positive.I realized that you have to explicitly teach and reteach students how to use the GOs and when to use them appropriately . Anyway, I started to see that their are students that struggle with making the connection and links that need to be made from one concept or idea to the next. Not to mention, they struggle to link and organize information within the same concept to bring about meaning. I do remember some students having a difficult time understanding how to fill out the thinking map and they never had the "AH HA" moment that helped them connect the usefulness of networking knowledge within their mind in an organized way and representing it visually or vice versa. Most of these students would only have a superficial level of understanding and couldn't explore critical thinking skills. The downfalls of those situations could have been that I didn't train them long enough, that they need more prior knowledge or support, maybe their brains didn't like that organizational way or maybe personalities had something to do with it, I really don't know. My personal experiences with GOs is that my brain naturally works to find connections right off when I receive new information being able to represent it visually solidifies the content. When I have to explain my understanding to someoneI try to do it within a hierarchal/organized way to make it easier for my recipient to understand. Sometimes this works and other times it doesn't. Now that I have been working only with EC students, I can see how they need you to model filling in the GO simultaneously helping them with their own "mind mapping" to concrete the concept into long term memory. Sometimes nuggets of information are just that to students with learning disabilities. Lots of nuggets floating around in their heads not stuck to anything. They need modeling and explicit instruction on how to connect and interrelate the nuggets to other solid structures within their knowledge bank (if that makes any sense). Point being, I am a huge advocate of GOs and believe in their power to solidify comprehension and organization of concepts while experiencing personal and professional triumphs and failures.
Something that I am in the initial stages of is creating a virtual learning community that for a group of fourth ad fifth grade students at Banner Elk. There is a problem with teaching EC students and it is that there is never enough time. So my solution to this is to create a forum where we will engaging in a virtual literature group while freeing up time that I am with them during the day to teach other things. The stage we are in now is learning all of the literature group jobs and components while we are all reading the same book that was chosen based on their IRI independent reading scores (of the majority). I chose a book that would be easy to read while they learn the intricacies of the jobs. One of my jobs is "mapper" where eventually one student will be the mapper for that chapter, and create a semantic map that can extend comprehension of the material. I will be spending probably two weeks teaching and practicing the uses of the different GOs they will be able to use. Once the students are comfortable with the jobs (hopefully by the end of the book we are reading now) we will move to the virtual learning space that I created on Haiku. Here they will perform the same jobs but do it all through technology. We will be blogging, creating online posters, using online mapping websites i.e., making movies, researching and collaborating on Wikis, while completing literature group jobs to be shared with the group members. Most of my EC students have issues with the tools for writing production so I am already researching tools to help with the typing barriers. I can't wait to try some of the examples in the last article to enhance reading comprehension and assists with writing. The overall goals are to grow readers, spark creativity, immerse them in technology, extend learning and the school day, build relationships and confidence and ultimately foster a love for reading. I will keep you all posted on how the project goes.

  • Graphic Organizer Discussion - koppenhaverd, Fri Sep 11 21:31
    After you have read the three articles and listened to my lecture, join the discussion below. Discuss your thinking about graphic organizers. Discuss how you may have tried this out with your... more
    • Creately - Amanda Grindstaff, Sun Sep 27 13:46
      I found an easy to use online graphic organizer with 5 free previews called It is amazing. I found it fairly simple to use and I actually had fun using it. I created a graphic organizer ... more
      • GO - megangouge, Mon Sep 28 09:28
        I'll check it out because my free version of kidspiration has expired! I played with it too much!! I can't get the one to work on my computer, something that they have blocked I assume, I plan on... more
      • Creately - walshjm2, Sun Sep 27 14:23
        Amanda, I have just got to check out! I previewed the Jack and jill organizer that you made and I loved it. I think this would be an excellent technology application for some of the ESL... more
    • GO - megangouge, Thu Sep 24 19:14
      I am ashamed to say that I have never used any of the apps or websites that were discussed in these articles. I actually already had Kidspiration download on my iPad but had never used it. However, I ... more
      • Re: GO - candithompson, Sat Sep 26 15:40
        Glad I am not the only one that has not used the websites or apps. Sometimes I feel like I am making things too hard because their are apps out there to use. I have just started working with... more
      • GO - Regina, Thu Sep 24 21:51
        Hi Megan, I feel the same. I have had the Popplet app on my student's iPads for a while, but I have never used it. After, reading some of the posts I was reminded of the app and plan to use it with... more
        • GO Website: ( - Melanie McLeod, Mon Sep 28 06:03
          Hey, Ladies: I used the website ( ) to create my graphic organizers for this module. It's a website, but it's free and easy-to-use as well. You may want to check it out
    • Re: Graphic Organizer Discussion - byrdaw, Tue Sep 22 18:44
      As an EC teacher, graphic organizers are instructional tools that I utilize daily. I have my students apply the use of a graphic organizer to dissect a word, define a word, and use the word in a... more
    • Graphic organizers - candithompson, Tue Sep 22 13:46
      I think graphic organizers are a fabulous tool to use with any grade. I have seen this visual strategy help many students as well as myself. I think it is a great way to visually organize information ... more
      • GO & Technology - Melanie McLeod, Thu Sep 24 06:11
        Hi, Candi: I would like to incorporate more technology with regards to graphic organizers, as well. The students enjoy working with technology, so this would be an added benefit for learning to occur ... more
        • GO & Technology - walshjm2, Sun Sep 27 14:14
          As an EC teacher I know the value that progress monitoring brings to the table when we need to show data on how our children are performing on their goals. The article by Smith and Okolo reiterates... more
        • Re: GO & Technology - candithompson, Sat Sep 26 15:18
          I downloaded the free kidspirations maps app. I have worked on it myself and plan to try it with kids next week. So far it seems user friendly.
      • Graphic organizers - Martha Brown, Tue Sep 22 20:39
        The way you start with the Venn Diagram using the hula hoops is great. I will be excited to try this with pre-school children. This will be wonderful for them to visually organize and see how this... more
        • Venn Diagram - megangouge, Thu Sep 24 13:07
          They make the expensive folding circles used for Venn Diagrams but hula hoops are readily available and can be used for so many other things too! I also have a pocket chart that is a Venn Diagram... more
      • Re: Graphic organizers - byrdaw, Tue Sep 22 18:52
        I agree that students enjoy using graphic organizers. Visual learners enjoy creating their own notes. This also engages students and assist in students who struggle with focus in the classroom. I... more
        • Re: Graphic organizers - candithompson, Sat Sep 26 15:24
          I have the maps saved as a pdf on my website. They can click on the map and open in noteability. Notability will let them add pictures, text and audio. It also automatically saves and it is very easy ... more
      • Re: Graphic organizers - brittanyavery, Tue Sep 22 16:38
        I think it's great how you pointed out the fact that GOs can be used in basically any grade. You're using them in first grade, and we're using them in a grad course. This shows that GOs are a very... more
        • Re: Graphic organizers - Martha Brown, Sat Sep 26 22:16
          I have learned so much from you all about how versatile the graphic organizers can be. Also the practice of using graphic organizers from the pre-school years through a graduate course for... more
        • Re: Graphic organizers - candithompson, Sat Sep 26 15:30
          Sometimes I use paper and pencil for GO's, but I try to save paper so I try to use the iPads as much as I can. I have reading a-z and sometimes use their books for guided reading so I will create a... more
          • Re: Graphic organizers - brittanyavery, Sat Sep 26 22:28
            I've now started thinking about how to use GOs with the Directed Reading-Thinking Activity (DRTA) in my guided reading groups after reading in our textbook for Ali's class, Diagnosis and Correction... more
            • DRTA - megangouge, Sun Sep 27 12:39
              We have struggled over the past three weeks with the copier/printer not working and it is our only one in the building! Using the GO apps would have been a great solution to many teacher's no... more
        • 4-Square GO-Writing - Melanie McLeod, Thu Sep 24 17:51
          Hi, Brittany: I know you are teaching 3rd grade now, and when I taught 3rd grade we used the 4-square writing graphic organizer to organize their writing sequence. I enjoyed using this GO for... more
          • Re: 4-Square GO-Writing - brittanyavery, Thu Sep 24 22:25
            Thanks for the suggestion. I've never used the 4-square GO, but it looks like another good option for students to use. When you used it, were the squares labeled (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc., first, next,... more
            • 4-Square Writing Books - Melanie McLeod, Fri Sep 25 06:26
              Brittany: There were places where the student or the teacher could write those sequence words. You can buy the book for primary and elementary grades titled: "Four Square Writing." There are a couple ... more
    • Bubble Maps - brittanyavery, Mon Sep 21 21:23
      I've recently introduced basic bubble maps to my students in writing workshop. I required all students to use them in planning their narrative the day I did the mini lesson on them. Since then using... more
      • Bubble Maps, etc. - walshjm2, Sun Sep 27 13:53
        Brittany, I enjoyed reading about the success that your student with ADHD had using a Bubble Map GO. It got my thoughts rolling on how effective GO in general can be for children with Learning... more
      • Re: Bubble Maps - candithompson, Sat Sep 26 15:35
        That is awesome she has found something to really help her. This is has made me think about how this might help some of my kids.
    • Cognitive Process Theory of Writing - shannonsilver, Sun Sep 20 17:03
      Graphic organizers fit perfectly in the planning process of writing. We used circle maps to generate ideas, concept maps to organize components and flow maps to help with sequencing. Dose anyone else ... more
      • Re: Cognitive Process Theory of Writing - brittanyavery, Fri Sep 25 20:23
        I recently used a (new to me) GO to teach a lesson on writing small moment stories. I don't know the actual name of the GO that I used, but it had a large circle with a small circle inside of it. I... more
        • Circle Map - megangouge, Sun Sep 27 12:42
          I love this idea of using circle maps for a small moment story! Small moments are such a hard thing for many students to grasp! I have used circle maps in the past with a number in the middle to show ... more
        • Circle Map - shannonsilver, Sat Sep 26 09:49
          That's a circle map and It is so versatile. You can use it for anything. I'm glad you saw it's usefulness. You could also use a tree map once the students have there small moment chosen and then they ... more
          • Circle Map - Regina, Sun Sep 27 13:14
            I've used circle maps and tree maps for many things, but using one for a small moment lesson is a great idea. I am currently taking the writing class and working on my Narrative unit so those ideas... more
      • Re: Cognitive Process Theory of Writing - byrdaw, Fri Sep 25 05:49
        I use the tree map from Thinking Maps. This assists students in writing three topic sentences. With lines underneath each topics, it guides students to support topics with sentences. This is the... more
        • Tree Maps - Melanie McLeod, Sat Sep 26 10:10
          Hi, Adele: Tree Maps are great for writing informational-book topics and details, as well. I enjoyed using them when I taught upper-elementary.
    • CSR? - shannonsilver, Sun Sep 20 16:56
      In the second article by Vaughn and Edmonds, they talk about the CSR approach. Has anyone used this and what did you use it for? Did it work well or poorly and why? This sounds like something I did... more
    • OMG!!! - shannonsilver, Sun Sep 20 16:42
      • I want to do this!!! - haleyferrell, Mon Sep 21 20:37
        After reading your post I love what you are doing with your EC group. I would love to do this with a group of my EC students but I am cautious due to the amount of time I work with them. The virtual... more
        • Thinking Maps - megangouge, Thu Sep 24 14:10
          I am on the same boat as you Haley, I was not teaching when Thinking Maps were adopted but I remember seeing them at the old school on the walls of the teachers that were trained. I would like to... more
          • Thinking Maps - shannonsilver, Sat Sep 26 10:05
            In my professional opinion, the best way to teach students to use TMs is to totally immerse them in to using them for everything. For instance, I used them for an attendance system in the morning.... more
            • Ideas - megangouge, Sun Sep 27 12:19
              Great ideas Shannon! Thanks! I haven't ever thought of having their morning or afternoon routines shown in a graphic organizer! Many times I also give them steps on the board to finish work but... more
        • Re: I want to do this!!! - shannonsilver, Thu Sep 24 08:16
          What was the book? You have to teach them how to talk about the book. Discussion Director helps move the discussion along asking higher level questions that the students have to answer.
          • Book - haleyferrell, Thu Sep 24 09:24
            The book that I was using last year was Mouse and the Motorcycle with my 5th grade group. I'm thinking about starting a novel and literature group with my 5th grade students this spring however I... more
            • Great Idea - shannonsilver, Thu Sep 24 09:46
              I think that would be great for the group of 5th graders you have this year. I have book sets if you are interested.
        • EC & GOs - Melanie McLeod, Thu Sep 24 06:26
          Hi, Haley: I agree. I feel that GOs help all students organize their thoughts. Especially for you EC students, organizing information visually will help them make connections and give a 'pattern' to... more
    • Graphic Organizers - Melanie McLeod, Thu Sep 17 19:14
      I believe that graphic organizers are very beneficial for students to process learned-information from narrative and expository texts. I have used graphic organizers within my college career to... more
      • Re: Graphic Organizers - byrdaw, Tue Sep 22 18:58
        What great ideas! Your instruction is laying the foundation for following teachers to build and expand on as students transition from your classroom.I, like you, have only used paper graphic... more
        • GOs with EC students - haleyferrell, Fri Sep 25 16:40
          Adele, How do you incorporate GOs with your EC students? Do you use them often? Do you incorporate them with FUSION?
          • Re: GOs with EC students - byrdaw, Sat Sep 26 12:43
            I use them to instruct students math algorithms in the general education classroom. I use them with the vocabulary process in Fusion. I often used them in the writing process. The guidelines give my... more
        • Graphic Organizers - Melanie McLeod, Wed Sep 23 19:05
          Hey, Adele: I always guide our first graders with filling out premade graphic organizers. I believe that creating graphic organizers should be taught to older elementary/secondary grade students so... more
    • Graphic Organizers - joanne abrams, Wed Sep 16 21:23
      I have used graphic organizers fairly consistently across different grades that I have taught. I like them not only for EC students, but for all students. They are also beneficial for our ELL's. Some ... more
      • Other GOs - shannonsilver, Sun Sep 20 17:07
        You could use flow maps for sequencing, circle map for descriptions or idea generation and bubble maps for attributes or characteristics of someone or something. I can show you what these look like... more
        • Re: G.O. - joanneabrams, Mon Sep 21 20:11
          I am familiar with all these for grades above Kindergarten...I would love to use them in Kinder so sure, I would really appreciate any share you may have showing how Kinders did with these types of... more
          • They are really easy... - shannonsilver, Thu Sep 24 08:19
            Once you teach children how to use them and give them enough practice it will become second nature. When I was teaching i used them for other activities that weren't academic such as signing in.... more
      • Venn Diagrams/Tree Maps - Melanie McLeod, Thu Sep 17 19:27
        Hi, Joanne: I have used the Venn Diagram organizer quite consistently with my students for comparisons, as well. Within our reading series, we have compared the animal fantasy fiction pieces with... more
        • G.O. - abramsjm, Sat Sep 19 09:38
          Hi Melanie and Amanda, I have not tried the Popplet App but I appreciate the information and will plan on getting familiar with it soon. I like your Tree Map idea for your first grade students and... more
          • Graphic Organizers - Martha Brown, Sun Sep 20 23:19
            I have never tried graphic organizers with pre-school children, but after reading the material and some of the ideas you all have shared, I look forward to the opportunity to try this. Using story... more
            • Re: Graphic Organizers - brittanyavery, Tue Sep 22 20:29
              Martha, something you might consider doing with pre-school is making a Venn diagram with hula hoops. I did this last year with my first graders. I had them write things on sticky notes and put the... more
              • G.O. - joanneabrams, Wed Sep 23 20:17
                I love the hoola hoop idea...what a great idea for K-1 learners. This strategy is so concrete and explicit. I am excited to try this with my students. I guess you could use mini-rings as well, they... more
            • Re:G.O. - joanneabrams, Mon Sep 21 20:05
              Yes, I agree Martha, drawing first is the initial step to showing comprehension of a story and sequencing is the way to do it. I usually have a three block frame on top and lines underneath so they... more
              • Re:G.O. - Martha Brown, Wed Sep 23 21:35
                Thank you for this idea. It is really beneficial for the pre-school children to understand the beginning, middle, and end of stories with recall. This will help them with comprehension and... more
          • RAN Chart & Sequencing - Melanie McLeod, Sat Sep 19 10:56
            Joanne: I have always used KWL charts for nonfiction literature, as well. However, I am using the R.A.N. chart (Reading Analysis of Nonfiction) that Dr. Greene shared with us during her literature... more
            • Re: RAN & Seq. - abramsjm, Sat Sep 19 15:15
              Thank you for that great information. I will try some of these ideas. The Popplet App sounds particularly interesting so I'll let you know how it goes! I know from my own experiences as a learner... more
        • Venn Diagrams/Tree Maps - Amanda Grindstaff, Fri Sep 18 03:37
          Melanie and Joanne, I use Venn Diagrams every year in multiple situations. We are beginning the Common Core Unit Tell a Story 1,2,3. In this unit we compare versions of stories such as the three... more
          • Re: Venn Diagrams/Tree Maps - brittanyavery, Thu Sep 24 16:14
            This is the first year I've used the Common Core Curriculum Maps, and we have been using Venn diagrams as well. This week we've been to comparing two different grandpas from two different stories... more
          • Venn Diagrams and Tree Maps - Regina, Mon Sep 21 20:28
            Ladies, I have the Popplet App on my student's iPad, but I have never used it. After reading your posts, I need to try it out and let my students explore the app. I also use many graphic organizers... more
            • Re: Venn Diagrams and Tree Maps - amanda grindstaff, Sun Sep 27 13:48
              You might try webspiration or too. I tried both those with this assignment and they are fairly simple to use.
              • Graphic organizers - Martha Brown, Sun Sep 27 23:32
                I liked the Webspiration as well. The creately looked like it would also be user friendly, however I did not use it for the assignment.
              • Venn Diagrams and Tree Maps (nm) - Regina, Sun Sep 27 20:32
                • Venn Diagrams and Tree Maps - Regina, Sun Sep 27 20:39
                  Amanda, thank you for those suggestions! I have checked out both and I really like the I would have used it on the graphic organizer project.
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