Use Graphic Organizers to Support Student Thinking and Writing

Research tells us that writing instruction is much more effective when teachers use tools that will help students organize their thinking and ideas before writing.  This is called the “Planning” stage of the writing process and this website is one of many that houses free graphic organizers for classroom use with students.  Students need to learn the purpose of each graphic organizer and need to be engaged in thinking critically about which graphic organizer is best for the essay prompt or writing assignment.  These should be used as scaffolds, with students learning the purpose and layout of each so that they can use them independent of class.

You can also use graphic organizers to analyze exemplar texts that you read with your students.  This involves deconstructing a text using the appropriate graphic organizer.  Doing this will allow your students to see the author’s writing process and thinking more concretely.

You should save/download these resources to your personal files.

Rate this resource

About Shannon Allen

Shannon specializes in literacy instruction for struggling adolescent and adult learners. Shannon has worked in adult literacy since 2002 and with the LAC since 2006. She loves her work and this field!

5 thoughts on “Use Graphic Organizers to Support Student Thinking and Writing

  1. Thanks for this resource Shannon! I love using graphic organizers for writing, but I think they are also useful for helping ESL students engage in discussions. I had ESL students use the “5 Ws” and the “Story Map 3” organizers with photographs. They spent some time looking at a photograph and taking notes with an organizer as a pre-discussion activity. This gave them a chance to gather their thoughts and build up some vocabulary so that they could engage in pair/small-group discussions more effectively. I think it gave more reserved students confidence to participate more fully in small-group / whole class discussions.

    Was this comment helpful?
  2. Thank you Shannon!
    I utilize graphic organizers to help my ESL students expand vocabulary and improve their reading comprehension skills. I use
    a wide variety of formats of graphic organizers to teach word structure and to introduce vocabulary in multiple contexts pending my ESL student levels and content areas. I find graphic organizers a powerful tool for vocabulary learning. They help students visualize connections between words and their meanings. And ultimately a solid vocabulary allows my ESL students become better writers, readers, and speakers.

    Was this comment helpful?
  3. Thanks Shannon!!
    Thank you for using graphic organizers to instruct your students, as well as your guidance on how we can use them with our students. Graphic organizers help the students to focus on the information they need to capture, yet allows them to get a good understanding of the big picture once they are completed. Particularly, they help take a lot of stress out of learning for the ESOL student.

    Was this comment helpful?
  4. Thanks for the resource. The graphic organizers are powerful tools for my adult ESL students. I introduced the graphic organizer to the class when we started the topic of Educational Requirements and Options for Children. The students worked in pairs /groups. They used the Cluster/Word Web to categorize/group the educational options and requirements by Levels of Schooling, Types of Schools, and Special Programs. Graphic organizers helped students engage effectively in class discussion, enlarge their vocabulary, visualize connections among concepts, make words more meaningful, enjoy reading, and become the active thinkers.

    Was this comment helpful?
  5. Thank you so much! As an educator, I often find myself creating graphic organizers on my own, however there are so many shortcuts here. I especially enjoyed utilizing the persuasion map in my ABE classroom, which consists mainly of English Language learners. This is a great way for writers to organize the beginnings of a “TASC argument essay.” If we begin preparing writers at an earlier level, they will be ready to write that argument in no time!

    Was this comment helpful?

Add Your Comment