How often have you passed out a graphic organizer to your students and told them to save it? How many times have they saved it? From forgetting it in their desk, the dog eating it, or getting lost in the black hole known as “the backpack,” it can be incredibly tricky to get 100 percent return on that graphic organizer. What we know as teachers, and students don't, is the graphic organizer is a scaffold created to help their thinking. A great way to remove excuses and get organized is to utilize digital graphic organizers.
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Why Digital Graphic Organizers?
Graphic organizers can be beneficial when taking notes, planning a story, making a hypothesis, and more! When you use digital graphic organizers, you give your students room to make a clean cut resource. This resource is easy to read and expand if needed, and you are making it easily accessible.
Tip #1: The Power of Google
Google is a classroom game changer for so many reasons. One big reason is the ability to make graphic organizers on Google Slides. Google Slides are easy to create, much like PowerPoint, and are easy to share. Therefore, using this digital graphic organizer is incredibly helpful when students are working in groups. Beyond helping with group work, it is easier to grade. You simply assign the Google Slides with students; then, you can see everything they are doing and find potential “roadblocks” before they become a problem.
Tip #2: Interactive Notebooks
Another great way to use digital graphic organizers is through the use of interactive notebooks. Initially, an interactive notebook was a physical notebook that students glued sticky notes and other pieces into a composition notebook. A digital interactive notebook is a great tool that allows the teacher to comment on student's notebook online. No more carrying tons of notebooks home or trips to the copy machine. This organization tip lessens the teacher's load and helps curb confusion early by keeping the student's information in one place. There are several ways to house your interactive notebooks to make them digital. My favorite ideas include:
- Google Slides
- Book Creator
Tip #3: Digital Graphic Organizer Websites
While Google Apps are a great resource, you can always allow students to make digital graphic organizers in other web applications. Most of the sites allow your students to share quickly, which makes grading these organizers easier. One thing you'll always want to be careful about is the cost of these websites. Some offer free limited services, but some require a subscription. You can explore different digital graphic organizers here.
Tip #4: Ideas for the Classroom
Use a digital graphic organizer for any grade level and subject area. Ideas include:
- Taking notes from reading assignments, research, or math topics
- Plan writing pieces
- Add multi-media to your digital graphic organizers such as pictures, video and other web applications
- Plan out math problems and create screencasts or videos of how the problem was solved
Tip #5: Utilize Already Made Digital Graphic Organizers
The last thing any of us want to do is re-invent the wheel. Digital classrooms are becoming more and more prevalent. Instead of spending hours beating your head against the wall, check out already made resources.
The world is becoming more and more digital every day, and that's not going to change. Instead of trying to stay with the “tried and true,” move over to the digital side and give these digital graphic organizers a shot and lose those long lists of excuses.