Educate Smartly with Graphic Organisers

Educate Smartly with Graphic Organisers!

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“Nothing becomes real until experienced” – John Keats

As an educator the biggest challenge we have is to ensure that our students learn and enjoy what they learn at the end of the day! Then we encounter these complicated terms such as Experiential learning, Problem based learning, Project-based learning, Collaborative Learning, Active learning, Outcome based learning et al. which are supposed to make our life easier and ensure that all our students attain mastery!

Considering the size of an Indian Classrooms, the extra duties which we are supposed to perform and the herculean syllabus, it’s natural that many of us struggle. Yet we are there again the next day smiling and loving our kids even more. What if I told you there is an antidote to all our woes which combines all the complicated terms mentioned above and provides us with an easy to swallow “candy”, not medicine that can make our work tad bit easier? That candy is Graphic Organisers!

Graphic Organisers? Mind Maps? What is new, we have been using that for ages.  Yes, you are! Do you know Graphic organizers can be integrated into your Classroom Management strategies?

On last count, there were not less than 15-20 kinds of Graphic Organisers, and the count can keep increasing as much as our creativity.

Let me give you a brief list of reasons on why Graphic Organisers make sense.

  • They help in remembering information better
  • They help in organizing the thinking and writing process
  • They help in making connections
  • They help in construction and transfer of learning

Graphic Organisers is a powerful Meta Cognitive Tool and when used in collaborative activities can turn passive learners into active learners! Isn’t that we want in our classrooms, students teaching students, students thinking aloud and finally they take charge of their own learning!

Let us see a few types of graphic organizers and how we can use them.

First and for most is the favourite of all students, big and small the Star! Yes, you can use the oft coveted star to explain the various attributes of any concept. For example, facets of health: Nutrition, Exercise, Rest, Emotional Wellbeing and Social Comfort.

The second graphic organiser is the Venn Diagram that can be used to show comparison and contrast between two concepts such as Indian and Mexican culture, Characteristics of proton, neutron and electron and so much more! At our workshop for teachers on EdTech tools, we compared Quizizz, Wordwall & Padlet!

The third Graphic organiser can be used to learn complex concepts and can also turn to be a self- reflection and knowledge construction tool. I am talking about the Web. Commonly used to make connections and organise ideas, the web can be used in collaborative projects as well as small groups. Whether individual or made by group, it can be used to generate more ideas, build upon previous learning, and cement new learning.

Do you have concepts that have clear cause and effects, if yes, the fourth graphic organiser for you? – the Fish Bone! With the main concept as the head, causes as the fins and effects as the bone, this fun tool is here to stay. Alternatively, if you have a big concept as a Mega effect such as Global warming, make it the fish head, and add the causes as the fins and ideal environment as the tail! And show the stages of earth warning on the main bone!

A favourite of history teachers, yes you guess it right the fifth one is the Timeline. Use this graphic organiser to show important milestones, events, or evolution of any concept… from man to internet to computers to AI!

We now move on to the sixth one, the Tree! Yes, you read it right, let’s use the tree to design our story plots, use it to show various angles or viewpoints of a topic. Ask students to use the trunk to display the main idea, for example character of “Willy Wonka” in the book Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Add the various plots of the story as branches, his reaction and facet of his character as leaves!

I am not over yet! Let me show you three more, the Fact & Opinion Chart can be used to ignite students’ minds to discern between facts and opinions. Ask them to wear virtual Fact and Opinion glasses while discussing sensitive and controversial topics!

The next one is the Predict & Infer graphic Organiser. Turn your students into Sherlock Holmes by asking them to look at a situation, predict what will happen using the knowledge they have and infer the results. A beautiful tool for science teachers it can easily be used in any subject. The only ask is for you to create curiosity in your students!

And last but not the least the KWLH chart! Widely used as a self-reflection tool this exercise, help students to organise their learning in what the already Know, What they want to Learn, What they Learnt and also How they learnt it. Start you class with K, move on to W, keep revisiting L and ask them to reflect H at home. Revisit the cycle starting with previous H and you have a recipe for a happy and successful class!

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