Graphic organizers are visual representations of knowledge. They provide a frame for teachers and students to visually identify important facts, organize information, and record relationships between facts and ideas. These tools help students to practice higher level thinking skills and apply these skills to real world situations. Graphic organizers also help students to remember information, understand how pieces of information are related, prepare written assignments and presentations, better understand the learning material, and engage four of the eight intelligences: verbal linguistic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial and naturalist. Graphic organizers provide an alternative to taking notes and can be used effectively in guided practice. They are especially effective in explaining and illustrating abstract concepts. Three of the most common graphic organizers are the Venn Diagram, KWL, and Cause and Effect.
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Forte, Imogene, and Sandra Schurr. Graphic Organizers and Planning Outlines for Authentic Instruction and Assessment. Nashville, TN: Incentive, 1996.