Too often we hear “management” and think of dealing with problems, but a huge part of effectively managing a classroom is making your policies, procedures, and expectations crystal clear.
Teachers often make signs listing class rules and procedures in writing, but putting the most important ones into graphic form will increase the likelihood that students will follow them.
Decades of research with various age groups and in different content areas has shown that in general, when graphic organizers are incorporated into instruction, student learning improves (Hall & Strangman, 2002).
Graphic organizers also help us meet the needs of all learners.
(See the Tips section below for more information on this.) Instead of giving a lecture with a standard Power Point or an outline, present your content in a graphic organizer.
This will instantly give students a way to visualize how the concepts are related to each other.KWL charts can work for any age group and can be used for single texts or at the beginning, middle, and end of an entire unit.To read a comprehensive overview of research on graphic organizers as a reading strategy, see Manoli & Papadopoulou, 2012.When we’re learning new words or concepts, it’s helpful to try to form mental images for those ideas to reinforce their meanings.While some approaches like doodling and the mind’s eye strategy apply this theory by having learners create physical and mental pictures of concepts, a graphic organizer keeps the words, but arranges them on a page visually so we better understand how concepts are related.The bulk of student writing time should be spent actually drafting their piece.When students do expository or argumentative writing, consider having them add a graphic organizer to their finished product to illustrate a concept in their piece.If you’ve never tried it, it’s worth adding this into your writing process, especially if you teach a content area where writing isn’t a regular part of student work.A warning: ; have students just jot notes down in these, rather than complete sentences.In this case, the organizer would NOT be a pre-writing tool, but a supportive diagram to aid in their own readers’ comprehension.This may not work for all topics, but if a student is writing about how bees make honey, for example, a diagram that shows the process from flower to honey would go a lot further to help the reader understand than a downloaded image of a bee hovering over a flower.