Keep Calm and Teach with Graphic Organizers!

By Kathy Reeves
23 June, 2016


You're teaching plant and animal adaptations to a diverse group of 28 elementary students. Your formative assessment results indicate that many of them aren't understanding the concept, so you reach into your magic teacher toolkit and pull out an activity that requires information processing and critical thinking. Concept mapping, graphic organizing, mind mapping – call it what you will – is a process supported by research that provides a powerful punch of educational value.

At Scientific Minds we frequently integrate text and visual imagery to help students learn.  You can find examples of graphic organization of content in the teacher-guided and video sections of our Science Starters and Science Sidekicks as well as in the many printables that are available with each subscription.

When students have the opportunity to organize information in a visual way, comprehension improves significantly.  Graphic organizers can be used for problem-solving, to find connections and relationships, and to assimilate information.  Watch any episode of CSI and you'll see detectives problem-solve by graphically organizing notes and images.

One of the greatest benefits of using graphic organizers in the classroom is that they support students of all ages and ability levels.  Concept mapping is a go-to strategy for any teacher looking for ways to reach a diverse student population. 

Ultimately, we want students to organize information by constructing their own graphic representations.  However, the process must be repeatedly modeled for them.  You may provide the students with a graphic template as you begin teaching the process, and then allow them to work in cooperative learning groups to create their own concept maps.  Later, they will be able to work independently.

Back to teaching that science lesson on adaptations – here  is a free downloadable concept map to help you teach this important concept.

What is your favorite way to include graphic organizers in the classroom?

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THANK YOU for the AWESOME concept map... I love good finds like this!

J'anee Simmons

23 September, 2016 04:30 PM


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