Graphic Organizers

Links and information about graphic organizers

As defined by CAST (The Center for Applied Special Technology), a graphic organizer is a visual and graphic display that depicts the relationships between facts, terms, and or ideas within a learning task. Graphic organizers are also sometimes referred to as knowledge maps, concept maps, story maps, cognitive organizers, advance organizers, or concept diagrams.

  • Graphic organizers come in many varieties and have been widely researched for their effectiveness in improving learning outcomes for various students.
  • A Descriptive or Thematic Map works well for mapping generic information, but particularly well for mapping hierarchical relationships.
  • Organizing a hierarchical set of information, reflecting superordinate or subordinate elements, is made easier by constructing a Network Tree.
  • When the information relating to a main idea or theme does not fit into a hierarchy, a Spider Map can help with organization.
  • When information contains cause and effect problems and solutions, a Problem and Solution Map can be useful for organizing.
  • A Problem-Solution Outline helps students to compare different solutions to a problem.
  • A Sequential Episodic Map is useful for mapping cause and effect.
  • When cause-effect relationships are complex and non-redundant a Fishbone Map may be particularly useful.
  • A Comparative and Contrastive Map can help students to compare and contrast two concepts according to their features.
  • Another way to compare concepts' attributes is to construct a Compare-Contrast Matrix.
  • A Continuum Scale is effective for organizing information along a dimension such as less to more, low to high, and few to many.
  • A Series of Events Chain can help students organize information according to various steps or stages.
  • A Cycle Map is useful for organizing information that is circular or cyclical, with no absolute beginning or ending.
  • A Human Interaction Outline is effective for organizing events in terms of a chain of action and reaction (especially useful in social sciences and humanities).

From: Hall, T., & Strangman, N. (2002). Graphic organizers. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum. Retrieved [11/11/09]


Click here to view a collection of graphic organizers that can be downloaded for immediate use or modified to suit individual learning needs.






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