We’re big fans of Graphic Organisers at Logonliteracy, with these useful tools featured in Pat’s Posters, and our Primary Years and Visual Images books. If you have never used one of these tools to help your students evaluate or plan their work, here’s a quick guide to why you should use Graphic Organisers.
A graphic organiser, or structured overview, is a tool for organising text or information in a visual form. You will have used one if you have ever completed a Venn Diagram, a SWOT analysis or evaluating scales.
Graphic organisers are great for visually representing the structure and context of text and demonstrating connections and relationships between facts, concepts or ideas.
However, not all graphic organisers are suitable for every piece of work – they should be adapted to fit the purpose, text, task and content.
As graphic organisers are great for organising text and information, they are fantastic for pre-reading tasks, deconstructing text and note-taking. They can also be used when evaluating visual, spoken, audio-visual or performance texts as well as works in print.
A Double Bubble Comparison Map makes it easier for a student to compare and contrast items, where a Tree Map can make the task of grouping items in the same class or category simpler.
Students will also find it is valuable to use a graphic organiser for planning their writing or checking their content and structure of their work before drafting. They are a fantastic scaffolding tool for writing. A cause and effect table can help a student quickly identify what information they have, or what they have missed, prior to drafting their final work.
This planning, using Graphic Organisers, reduces the cognitive load on students. When it comes to writing, their ideas are already clearly set out, so they can focus on the “how” of writing – not the what.
Not only will Graphic Organisers improve the completion and complexity of your students’ writing, they can also help you streamline the process of helping students prepare work for their assessments.
Requiring students to complete and submit Graphic Organiser work as part of the pre-drafting process can help reduce plagiarism as it signals to students you need to see their working out process – as well as the final assignment. This is also an extremely efficient way to check students’ content and structure prior to drafting.