Syllabus | Schedule | Resources

Graphic Organizers




The presentation on graphic organizers gave you an overview of some of the ways concept maps can help to clarify ideas and engage higher levels of critical thinking. Today we will have some opportunities to apply the use of concept mapping.

Exercise 1

Working in pairs, create a concept map or cluster around one of these central ideas:

  • amazing classroom behaviors I've witnessed
  • 25 years from now
  • reasons for becoming a teacher
  • the solar system
  • Shakespeare

Your instructor will then call time and ask you to move to another computer. Look at what your classmates did and add at least three new ideas to the diagram. If you see ways to reorganize the diagram so that larger ideas subsume smaller ones, go ahead to make that change.

Make sure that every link you put in means something. Label your links with phrases that express what the relationship is between the two elements. Some example link types:

  • is a part of
  • is an example of
  • causes
  • is a synonym for
  • is explained by
  • was written by
  • has as a sub-part
  • is exemplified by
  • is affected by
  • is a synonym for
  • explains
  • wrote

After several pairs have gotten their hands on your initial diagram, you'll get to return to your original seat. Examine how your diagram has changed. Are 8 heads better than 2?

Then practice colorizing and spiffifying the map and be ready to show it to the class as a whole.

Exercise 2

Deepen your understanding by exploring web sites about graphical organizers for teaching and learning. Working in pairs or threes, divide up the task of looking at these sites:

  • Go to the Examples page at the Inspiration site. Explore for awhile and get familiar with the kinds of things that can be done within the subjects you teach.
  • Explore the Graphic Organizers site for ideas on how to use Inspiration in the classroom. Write down some ideas that apply to your own teaching.
  • Thinking Maps are a formalized way to develop thinking skills using diagrams of eight different types.

Summarize what you found for the other members of your group. Then come up with specific ideas on how you might use them in a lesson and be prepared to explain your ideas to the whole class.


See the Resources page for additional information relating to today's topics.


Good resource page for using Inspiration in the classroom