Graphic Organizers


What is a Graphic Organizer?




"A picture is worth 1000 words."

When students are juggling new concepts, a graphic organizer can be an excellent teaching aid.

Why do they work?
Random factoids are quickly lost. However, the brain's ability to store pictures is unlimited. Since the brain likes to chunk information, the graphic organizer complements the way the brain naturally works.

When do they work?
Graphic organizers will be beneficial to students whenever they are given new information. Among other applications, they can be used to sequence, brainstorm, and organize. During reading and listening students should be encouraged to graphically organize new information.

How do they work?
The graphic organizers provided here are, for the most part, plain in appearance. Allow students to create their own look to these organizers whenever possible. The brain remembers more when personal creativity has been invested in a project.

The Three C's of Graphic Organizers


A Compendium of Graphic Organizers

    Chain of Events

Character Analysis Pyramid

Character Study


Compare/Contrast Matrix

Comparing Concepts

Concept Wheel

Concept Wheel (Vocabulary)

Concept Word Map

Decision Making Model

Elements of the Story

Event Map

Fishbone Mapping

Frayer Model

Hierarchy Diagram

Historical Timeline

KWL 3 Column

KWL 4 Column

Mind Maps

Spider Map

Storyline Map

T Chart

Thematic Web

Venn Diagram (2 Circle)

Venn Diagram (3 Circle)

Vocabulary Flash Card 

What Matters Most

Y Chart



    To suggest Graphic Organizers to add to this list, please contact Michael Ballard, Program Specialist, Professional Development & Community Services, District Services Center.