Graphic Organizers Introduction

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Graphic Organizers, (GO), help your children to direct and give a focus to their writing. The writer puts their information to help guide their writing. There are many different types of GO layouts. Six designs I have included are KWL, T-Charts, VENN Diagrams, The Hamburger, a Writing Web and a Story Map. The writers fill in the GO to record and map out their ideas.

Using a GO with your children will assist them, (as well as you), to set out the information that they have collected about a topic. Your children write down the information that they have gathered on the GO that best suits their project. You may want to try a few different types to see which one best suits your needs. GO's are a mind map to help your children lay out what they know so that they can see all the details. They are an easy-to-understand frame. Having your children put their writing ideas down on paper in a logical order helps them to see what path their writing might take. GO's are a helpful, pre-writing exercise. They develop understanding and guide the writing to branch out from the main topic step by step.

I have used them for years and have found them very helpful and easy to use. Kids like them too.

The samples on the Helping with Writing site are the ones I have used in my classroom and for my own research too.

Examples of Graphic Organizers
Venn Diagram
Writing Web
Story Map

Helping with Writing provides six designs used with different types of writing styles to give you numerous examples of how you may use them with your children. The examples show you a broad range of their potential.

KWL Graphic Organizer

The KWL Graphic Organizer use as an acronym for ease of use.

K is for the word Know. "What I Know."

W is for the word Want. "What I Want to learn."

L is for the word Learned. "What I Learned."

The following chart is an example of how you might fill in the KWL chart.

KWL Graphic Organizer
Title Buffalo Name Tessie Date May 26
What I Know What I Want to Learn What I Learned

buffalo live in herds on the prairies.

buffalo have survived for 100's of years.

there are different types of buffalo.

How long do buffalo live in the wild?

How did the First Nations Peoples use the buffalo?

List the North American buffalo.


Buffalo can with stand freezing temperature.

First Nations Peoples used every part of the buffalo.

Buffalo give birth to calves.

Your children fill in the chart as they gather information and knowledge.

They begin writing about what they Know in the first column. This increases their recall of knowledge.

Next, they write about what they Want to learn in the second column. The chart creates interest and direction for your children to find out more about the topic at hand.

Lastly, they have done some research they complete the chart with what they have Learned. KWL's are a satisfying way for your children to see what they have achieved.

They experience immediate success with the chart because it begins with what they already know. That is nice. That is rewarding. Next, it is their opinion that counts. They write what they want to learn. This sections honours their opinion and gives them direction or a focus to follow. Lastly, they record what they learned. They see their accomplishments. Also, they can put as much or as little information in the chart as they like. The chart sorts and classifies their work so that they can clearly see where they have come from and where they have ended up. Terrific!

I have used KWL graphic organizers for many subjects from Science to short story writing. They are great!

K stands for; What I Already Know.

W stands for What I Want to learn.

L stands for ; What I Learned.

KWL Graphic Organizer
Title ________________________Name___________Date_______


What I already Know.


What I Want to learn.


What I Learned.


Your children write what they already know about their topic in point form in this section.


Your children thinks about what they would like to research or learn more about in this section. After they have completed their research, writing, report, whatever they were working on the write it in here. This sections lets your children see how much they have learned. I like this section because it is like a pat on the back.

A KWL graphic organizer is a simple three column chart. You can clearly see how to use them with very little instruction. Kids love using them because they are simple.

Now it is your turn. Print the KWL chart to start expanding your children's writing ideas.


Printable KWL Graphic Organizer


Venn Diagram Graphic Organizer

Venn Diagrams are two interlocking circles. The circles overlap one another to compare and contrast two topics. A Venn diagram is a simple structure and makes it easy for your children to classify similarities and differences about their topic.

The writer adds what the two topics have in common in the middle where the two circles interlock and adds what the two topics do not have in common in the outer space where the two circles do not link.

Venn diagrams can be applied to a wide range of subjects. They are easy to use and the writer can add information to it while they are learning.

Game Idea For a fun activity you can take two hoola hoops and make a venn diagram. Place objects or words on cards in the circles to get a visual, hands on experience. Real life experiences help your children make connections to the world around them.

Venn Diagram


Here is a practice Venn Diagram to try.

(GO is under construction)


T-Chart Graphic Organizer

T-Charts are graphic organizer where your children can list and compare two topics. For example, they may compare the pros and cons of owning a pet. They may want to look at the advantages and disadvantages of the use of an object. Or, your children may want to list fact vs opinion after reading a book. A T-Chart may help your children to lay out and explain the strengths and weaknesses of an essay or a passage that they have read.

T-Charts are a great tool to organizes your thoughts and ideas and to see them laid out before you.

Here is an example of how your children might use a T-Chart Graphic Organizer.

T - Chart Graphic Organizer
Title Riding a Bike vs Walking Name Tessie Date August 14

I can get to where I am going faster on a bike.

good exercise


I can walk any where.

Any one can walk with me.

good exercise

I don't have to repair the bike.


As your children add to the T-Chart they will clearly see their ideas. If they have a writing assignment, they may begin to get ideas for the writing. If they are trying to solve a problem, they may see the good points and bad of each.

Now try your own.

Printable T-Chart Graphic Organizer