Graphic Organisers- visual frameworks that guide thinking Marzano (1998) provides detailed meta-analyses of a number of teaching strategies, including the use of graphic organisers (he uses ‘graphic representations’ as a catch-all for such techniques). Graphic organisers use some kind of visual framework to guide the learner’s thinking. There are a multitude of designs, and they variously use a combination of text, images, diagrams, arrows, boxes etc. The content and position of the material on a graphic organiser shows the relationships within the information. Graphic organisers are an extremely powerful tool in enhancing achievement: Examples The following are some examples that I have created using the structural suggestions made in Naylor, Keogh and Goldsworthy’s (2006) excellent resource Active Assessment. The examples  only illustrate one form of graphic organiser designed to directly explore the relationships between elements within multi-part conceptual models. Links to different forms of graphic organiser are provided further down this page. Graphic Organisers: compare and contrast A compare and contrast graphic organiser provides a framework that requires learners to identify similarities and differences between two or more objects, events or ideas. They rely on there being some form of relationship between the things being compared. In terms of learning, they help develop constructs, and provide a mechanism for teachers to identify errors and omissions in a learner’s understanding. Graphic Organisers: reasoning by analogy This form of graphic organiser requires learners to identify similarities between objects, events or ideas. In particular they help identify structural and/or functional similarities. This form of graphic organiser relies on there being a relationship between the things being compared, and the learner has to use their understanding of this relationship to complete the task. In terms of learning, they force students to compare constructs, and reveal the fine detail of their understanding. Graphic Organisers: whole-part relationships These types of graphic organiser invite learners to identify the functional and systemic relationships between objects and systems. They illustrate the nature of the relationships between the things being compared. By de-constructing the relationships into smaller units the relationships that exist between them are easier to recognize and detail. Looking for whole-parts relationships, learners refine their constructs, adding to detail and developing the links between composite ideas. Use The optimal use of graphic organisers followers the core rules that have been espoused throughout this website- they must be designed with clear learning goals in mind, these challenging goals and linked success criteria must be clearly communicated to learners, students should be supported individually or in small groups to fully engage with the material, and rich feedback should be provided to learners with regard to their understanding and areas of misconception. Make your own- templates More theory and useful examples for creating and using other forms of graphic organiser can be found in Balanced Reading’s PDF guide here, and in Scholastic Red’s free guide here. The Irish SLSS provide this excellent guide to using graphic organisers in different subjects on their website. Blank templates that you can use to produce a wide range of graphic organisers can be downloaded for free from here or here.  If your budget has 20 quid in it, then this might suit you, although I personally recommend the great value text by Katherine McKnight. Model Learning offer on-line guidance on creating various Graphic Organisers, and offer INSET packages that focus on the area.
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