Visual thinking can be expressed in many ways. Graphic organizers are one way for visual thinkers to arrange their ideas. There are unlimited ways to express these visual ideas. Graphic organizers have many names including visual maps, mind mapping, and visual organizers. Although many students plan with paper and pencil, technology tools can be very helpful because they allow easy editing.
Graphic organizers can be used in all phases of learning from brainstorming ideas to presenting findings. They can be used individually or in large groups. For example, some teachers like to create a class concept map as a large group to review at the end of a unit or develop a character map while reading a book aloud to the class. These tools are particularly useful in activities that require critical thinking skills.
Advantages of Graphic Organizers.
Why use graphic organizers in student projects? Shouldn't students be writing paragraphs and reports? There are a number of answers to these questions.
First, these organizers are a way to encourage students to think about information in new ways. With writing, it's easy for students to copy from one place to another. With graphic organizers, you remove the words and focus on the connections. Second, they are a great tool for activities that ask students to review concepts and demonstrate their understanding. They can easily make changes and take different perspectives. In other words, it helps students clarify their thinking. Third, a huge amount of information can be shared on a single picture to provide the "big view" of a topic. Fourth, it's easy to edit, revise, and quickly add to a visual map. Fifth, graphic organizers can be used as a nice planning tool from information identification to product development. Finally, they are great for visual thinkers or those that...