Posted: September 7, 2012 Filed under: Education, Literacy | Tags: 21stcentury, app, Apple, brainstorm, iPad, learningtool, links, literacy, reading, resource, tablet, teachingtool, template
One of my favourite things about graphic organisers is their application to a wide range of topics and student abilities in our classroom. I find that students learn best when they are made to feel as if they have some choice in their planning approach and, when appropriate, I find that offering a range of planning alternatives is a great way to cater for each individual.
I gradually introduce various graphic organisers through the tuning in part of my lessons throughout Term 1, and encourage their use in reading groups (scaffolded and independently). As the school year progresses, students begin using their prior knowledge to select templates that suit their task. I also have a small window display that I provide for student reference.
There is a huge, potentially endless, range of resources out there. I have narrowed this list down and added some of the ways I integrate them into our classroom learning. Great news for techies too, as there is a growing range of graphic organiser apps being built and shared for iPad-based education!
Freeology (Graphic Organisers) – I like this website because of the huge amount of effort that has gone into giving ideas for almost every graphic organiser template. If you want to introduce these to your reading/writing groups there is a great range of ideas located here.
Eduplace – The templates here are clean and simple. They are useful in the Adobe Reader app for iPad, as students are able to annotate and save their work using the app. These are predominantly the templates that I use on my displays and offer to my students.
The graphic organiser BLMS look best when they are printed on to coloured cartridge paper. I have considered colour coding them in the past, but I’m not sure how useful that would be. I’ll get there eventually.
Wordle – www.wordle.net – This fun tool lets you play around with texts that you provide and create a ‘Word Cloud’ that gives frequently occurring words more notability. Before reading a news article I copy the content into the Wordle and my grade hypothesise what the news story might be about.
Gliffy – http://www.gliffy.com/ – (Requires signup – Free 30-day trial) A handy resource both professionally and for students’ use. This one requires some time investment but it produces some pretty darn cool results.
Popplet (lite) - iTunes Store – A colleague introduced me to this student-friendly app with a neat, simple interface. Multiple graphic organisers can be saved in one app (Full version only) and then exported as PDF or JPEG files. The lite version allows for one local copy and you can still export your files – I find that this is workable if you are only using it in small groups or have a 1:1 iPad/student ratio.
iMindmapHD – iTunes Store – A step up from the simplicity of Popplet but it makes up for it with some trickier user features. The free app is quite restricted but still provides enough options to be worthy of a mention and make the list.
Take a Look (Kath Murdoch) – A colleague introduced me to Murdoch’s inquiry-based teacher tools. Her reflective tools are no exception. This text is well worth a Google.
WA First Steps (Reading, Writing, Viewing) - A formidable resource that we use in our annual, term and weekly planning. They aren’t cheap, but are worth a look from a team based/whole school planning initiative.
Today I was in the world of Twitter and I stumbled across this article on the (extremely awesome) tech website, Mashable:
This has inspired me to lead my Grade 3/4s down the infographic path in Term 4, what possibilities! I’ll keep you posted.
Thank you all so much for your support and kind comments so far. Please use the section below to share some of your uses for graphic organisers in your classrooms, here are some questions to get you started:
Do you have a favourite resource that I haven’t mentioned? How do you integrate it into your practice?
Should we be working towards making everything tech-based (iPads, apps etc.) or do BLMs still have a place in our students’ planning and brainstorming?
Do you have a blog? Share it with us below!