Tag Archives: Graphic Organizer

Tuesday’s Tool: Create Quick and Easy Visual Organizers

Popplet is a Web 2.0 tool for creating graphic/visual organizers with a simple, easy to use platform. Popplet allows users to explore ideas, create galleries, record thoughts, collect inspiration, collaborate together, and present it all to the world.

Popplet creators boast that their tool will allow users to sort, discuss, share, visualize, mash-up, plan, remix, express, create, decide, and so much more. The tool is so simple that you won’t need to teach your students how to use it before you start your lesson; they can jump right in and figure it out as they begin to create their first organizer. Each click gives basic instructions to support users as they work.

In addition to using Popplet on the web, it is available for the iPad in a full version with all the website features for only $4.99 or a free light version with many of the same features. For those of you thinking about how you might use an iPad in your classroom, check out how the full version of Popplet works and see if it might be an app for your students.

As you continue to plan authentic, student centered lessons that will engage your kids as they collaborate and learn from each other, how might you use this Web 2.0 tool to support their thinking?

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. You can read more at her blog Higgins Helpful Hints Blog.

HD_Links: Free Tools

For this weeks list of helpful links, we’ll keep it simple. Here are five links to tools or list of tools that won’t cost you or your district a cent.

Get a head start on creating your Web 2.0 Toolkit this summer with Larry Ferlazzo’s list of “The Best Collections Of Web 2.0 Tools For Education.” Instead of your typical list of tools, this is sort of a list of lists of Web 2.0 tools for your classroom. This link alone will provide you enough work for the summer.

Do you want to have your students blog without going through the process of setting up a blog site and assigning logins? Try Instablogg, a free blogging tool that simply allows users to publish one post at a time without having to set up an entire blog. Each post is given a unique URL for sharing.

Ayushveda Web has provided a nice list of six online diagram tools for creating graphic organizers or your very own infographics.

Issuu is an online magazine publishing service that anyone can use. As far as classroom application, it seems it would be a great tool for a large interdisciplinary project or even a portfolio. Watch the video and see what you think.


Finally, every 21st century classroom needs an image editing program, but software like Photoshop or Fireworks can be expensive. Luckily, there are plenty of great, free alternative out there. Check Web Design Booth‘s list of Photoshop alternatives here.

As you can see, there is no shortage of free and effective tools online. It’s just a matter of hunting them down and spending time learning how to use them. I guess that’s what summers are for. 😉

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

Thursday’s Tip: Graphic Organizers

All of us use graphic organizers with our students to organize and compartmentalize their thinking. The trouble is that we typically get stuck in using the same old graphic aids and for the same old purposes. Below are some tips for mixing up the kinds and purposes for using graphic organizers in your classroom:

  • Consider using graphic aids as assessment. A summative assessment might demonstrate all the content a student has gathered over a unit of study, but relationships between concepts can take that learning deeper. Formative assessment can also be aided throughout a unit as a way to check in with students’ understandings.
  • Here is a great rubric for graphic organizers. Graphic organizers like most any product students create in class can have specific guidelines to follow while still maintaining an open-ended possibilities.
  • Sometimes it’s great to have a large collection of graphic organizers to print out an allow students to freely use in order to organize their thinking. Teacher Vision provides a rather comprehensive collection of graphic aids you can print out and have at your disposal. (Also, see Holt.) If you want to personalize your graphic aid print-outs, try Teachnology’s collection of generators.
  • Would you rather save paper? There’s always software such as Inspiration or SMART Ideas, but there are also some online options. There’s Webspiration, bubbl.us, Cacoo, Gliffy, or Grapholite. If you like free like the previously mentioned web apps but would prefer a download, try Cmap. These tools and many others can be found at Lee’s Summit (MO) IT page for graphic organizers.
  • A great way to use graphic organizers in an inquiry-based classroom is to create the graphic without labels. The students can use some deductive reasoning in order to define the parameters of the graphic aid. For example: Place a list of spelling words with similar patterns in two different circles. Have the students figure out what the rule is for each group and why the words are separated.
  • Provide students with multiple graphic organizers from which to choose. Then, have them justify their choices as part of the learning process.
  • It is important to remember that graphic organizers can be useful to all types of learners. Higher order thinking can be involved as students purposefully consider the relationships between concepts. Graphic organizers can also be a way to make more complex ideas clearer for struggling learners. Plus, graphic aids can be a pleasant alternative for those students who are more visually-inclined.
  • Check out eThemes for more resources on graphic organizers!

Remember that graphic organizers can be used in a multitude of ways for all grade levels and subject areas. How do you use graphic organizers in your classroom?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.