Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Graphic Organizers That (REALLY) Rock!

We all use graphic organizers, and if we don't we should! Differentiating our instruction is essential to meeting the needs of all our students, and many, many of them are visual learners. In addition, all of our students need to make connections, and all need to organize their learning, an important metacognitive skill.

***Attention, high school teachers: these are NOT just for elementary grades! ***

So, for your toolkit, a list of great websites that provide FREE and fantastic graphic organizers:
  1. Education Oasis has organizers for Cause & Effect, Character & Story, and Vocabulary Development, among many others. 
  2. Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers offers a huge variety for different concepts, including Evaluating & Making Decisions and Persuading & Supporting a Position.
  3. Education Place (from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) has several choices, including an ISP Chart (Information, Sources, Page). I can see this one being used to cite evidence, a skill emphasized in the Common Core Standards.
  4. Freeology provides or links to, in their words, "over 100 free, printable graphic organizers for a wide variety of topics." It's amazing!
and finally, WorksheetWorks, which has a free generator for 12 basic types of graphic organizers that you can make your own!

FREE makes me happy, and sharing a variety of resources for YOU makes me even happier!

"I Have - Who Has?" Card Games

When I moved from high school science to elementary ESL, the learning curve was pretty steep! I knew ESL methods, but I did NOT know elementary school culture or practice. One of the best things that happened to me was sharing space with an experienced teacher whose current role was curriculum coordinator. He quietly mentored me through that first year or so, and I'll be forever grateful that Joe Bost shared his wisdom and know-how with me.

One of the coolest ideas he gave me was "I Have - Who Has?" games. From math to social studies to reading, they are fabulous ways to review, drill, and yes, even assess.  I used the ones he shared, looked more up online, and created others myself.

Their use is simple. One student begins by reading a Who Has question. The same student will end the cycle by answering with the I Have statement on the same card. Here is one page from a sample set:

My co-teacher and I created card sets for sequencing books and for all of the first grade Dolch sight words. We found sets for state capitols and shared with a social studies teacher at our school. We downloaded math sets shared online by other teachers. And on, and on...

You can buy sets of cards, which is a time-saver, but they can be pricey, and who wouldn't prefer to customize her own sets to her students' specific needs? To save you some time without spending much money, here are links to some FREE and/or cheap sets that you can download and use:

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:i+have+who+has/Order:Price/Page:1 Teachers Pay Teachers has more than 300 sets that are FREE!!
http://www.powerpointmaniac.com/science/flashcards/ Some sets are free, others cost only $1.50
http://historytech.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/tip-of-the-week-i-have-who-has/ Not a set of cards, but several ideas, including one about analogies (Higher Order Thinking Skills, y'all!)
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/I-Have-Who-Has-Card-Game-Customize-and-Print costs only $2 for an adaptable template.

And just now, I found an awesome FREE card generator for this activity! Enjoy, and PLEASE comment on this post if you have other resources for this great activity. I promise I'll share, and give you credit for your input! :-)