A graphic organizer uses visuals to show relationships and connections between ideas, making it easier to comprehend large amounts of information and complex ideas. Students can also use graphic organizers to demonstrate knowledge and organize their thinking.
Wixie includes a range of graphic organizer templates teachers can assign or students can open from the Templates folder on their home page.
Teachers can choose an organizer template, customize the content and instructions, and assign it to their students. Students can also use the paint tools and mapping stickers to organize information and show relationships in a more open-ended manner.
How do graphic organizers relate to Webb's Depth of Knowledge?
Normal Webb developed the Depths of Knowledge levels in 1997 as a way to evaluate assessment tasks. Many educators have also found it useful as a way to evaluate their own classroom instructional tasks. If you aren’t familiar with Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, the levels can generally be looked at as:
If you are using Webb’s Depth of Knowledge to organize your instruction and student tasks, here are ways you can use the graphic organizers in Wixie at each level.
Level 1: Recalling what you know
At level 1, students can use graphic organizers to demonstrate knowledge of fact and details. Great level 1 graphic organizers include:
- Clusters and circle maps
- Cycles, sequences, and timelines
- 5 W’s and character-setting-events
If students are reading literature or informational text, this could take the form of a Character trait clusters, 5 W’s organizers and character-setting-events organizers. Sequence organizers work for almost every subject, whether it is the life cycle of an animal, the order of events in history, or the beginning-middle-end of a story.
Level 2: Thinking about what you know
At level 2, students can use more complex organizers, like Venn diagrams, to organize their thinking; showing comparisons, classifications, and hierarchies. Great level 2 graphic organizers include:
- Comparisons and Venn Diagrams
- Main Idea>Key details
- Plot diagrams
In language arts, students can use Venn Diagrams to compare characters, genres, or texts. Students can use organizers like Pros and Cons or Facts vs. Opinions as they conduct research for science projects. They can use sorting organizers to help them understand hierarchies in math and science, such as food chains and rules of geometry. Cause and effect organizers are helpful for thinking about events in history as well as impacts in science.
Level 3 and 4: Thinking for a purpose and extended thinking
At level 3 and 4, graphic organizers are used not as the end goal or instructional task, but as a means for students to organize information and thinking during the process of solving a problem. In other words, graphic organizers are used to help students make sense of information for a bigger purpose.
Graphic organizers help students organize their thinking in ways that help them identify misconceptions as they encounter new information that leads them to rethink, reorganize, and iterate (level 4). As student work on larger projects, these organizers provide opportunities for formative assessments so that educators can more effectively coach learners.
In fact, a level 3 or 4 instructional task may be effectively supported by level 1 sequencing task that helps a team clarify their understanding of the steps in a process or problem they are trying to solve. Other organizers may get them thinking more deeply about the content or their approach to the problem, such as this 5 Whys example.
Level 3 and 4 instructional tasks often take the form of project-based learning (PBL). The goal of a PBL approach is not only high-level thinking and deeper content learning, but also the acquistion of "college and career-ready" skills like project management, leadership, and collaboration. Graphic organizers can help students build these skills by facilitating the organization of information and the planning of tasks and project design.
To help them better think about content and think about their learning, the use of the graphic organizers in Wixie at this level should be student-driven, not teacher designed.
Graphic organizers are effective learning tools that can be integrated into instructional task at all levels of Webb's Depth of Knowledge.