In today’s post I am sharing with you a collection of educational resources where you can download and print free graphic organizer templates to use with your students in class. Graphic organizers are great tools to help students visualize learning and make their thinking processes visible. They can be used as scaffolds to enhance understanding by enabling students to organize information, deconstruct abstract concepts, and simplify complex information.
Graphic organizers come in different forms and types including diagrams (e.g., Venn diagrams, Cluster diagrams, Timeline diagrams, etc.), charts (e.g., T Charts, KWL charts, Hierarchy charts, etc.) , maps (e.g., concept maps, mind maps, bubble maps, spider maps, etc.), among others. There are also graphic organizers created specifically to help students learn certain skills such as writing, reading, vocabulary, math, and more.
Graphic organizers provide several learning benefits: They can help students hone in their problem solving skills and develop their decision making abilities. Graphic organizers also empower students to uncover hidden relations and interconnections among ideas and identify patterns, all of which are practices that cultivate critical, creative, and strategic thinking skills.
Additionally, students can use graphic organizers to brainstorm ideas, take notes, demonstrate their understanding, summarize key points, organize information, create timelines to capture key events or periods, learn new vocabulary, practice learned materials, explain the steps followed to solve a problem, and many more.
To help you make the best of graphic organizers in your teaching, I am sharing with you this list of curated resources where you can access a wide variety of graphic organizer templates. These are pre-made materials available for free download. Alternatively, you can create your own graphic organizer templates and there are several simple tools to use in this regard. I shared some of my favourite titles below.
Reading Rockets offers these awesome graphic organizers created by understood.org to help kids with their writing. These include a Hamburger Paragraph (helps students work on the different layers of paragraphs, similar to the layers of a Hamburger), Persuasion Map (helps students write persuasive and argumentative essays), Pros and Cons ‘T’ table (students use this T-shaped table to help them write about the pros and cons of a topic), and finally Sequence Chart (helps students flesh out the procedural steps required to, for instance solve a math problem, record a video tutorial, etc).
National Geographic offers this collection of helpful black and white graphic organizers that you can download and print to use with your students in class. You can use the search bar to search for specific graphic organizer. Some of the featured types include: Graphs, Grids, Multiple Causes and Multiple Effects Diagram, Cause-and-Effect Diagram, Four-Column Chart, Web, Two-Column Chart, Research Chart, KWL Chart, Venn Diagram, Scientific Method Chart, Goal-and-Outcome Diagram, Steps in a Process Diagram, Classification Chart, Three-Column Chart, Decision Matrix, Sequence Chain, Cycle Diagram, Spider, T Chart, and many more.
HMH provides this collection of free graphic organizer templates to use to “structure writing projects and help in problem solving, decision making, studying, planning research, and brainstorming.” These templates are organized into the following categories : Sequence of Events, Main Topic and Key Details, Compare/Contrast, Story Planning, and Other Graphic Organizers. For instance, in the Sequence of Events category you will find templates like Timeline, Flow Chart, Step-by-Step Chart, Sequence Chart, and Time-Order Chart, all of which help students order information along a temporal/chronological sequence.
Education Oasis offers over sixty graphic organizer templates that cover various topics. These resources are available in PDF forms. Some of the templates provided are fillable allowing students to fill them out before they print them. Graphic organizer templates are arranged in the following categories: Close Reading Graphic Organizers; Central Idea Graphic Organizer; Cause and Effect Graphic Organizers; Character and Story Graphic Organizers; Compare and Contrast Graphic Organizers; Sequence, Cycle, Timeline, Cluster, Hierarchy, and Chain of Events Graphic Organizers; Vocabulary Development and Concept Graphic Organizers; and Miscellaneous Graphic Organizers.
Freeology offers over 100 free printable graphic organizers. Each template comes with a short description of what the graphic organizer is used for and a link to download it in PDF format. Some of the graphic organizer templates featured in the site’s library include: Character Details Organizer, Vocabulary Boxes, Beehive Flow Chart, Weekly Learning Log, Fact Opinion Worksheet, Book Review, Short Story Overview, Character Compare/ Contrast Graphic Organizer, Note Taking Organizer, New Year’s Reflection, Annotations Bookmark, and many more.
There are several web tools that you can use to create your own custom graphic organizer templates. Most of these tools are easy and simple to use. They also offer various subscription plans to choose; the free plan, obviously, has the least features.
The first tool I would highly recommend and the one I use very often is Canva. Canva provides you with pre-made templates to help you design your own graphic organizers. You can edit the templates using the site’s editor and when you are done you can download and share your templates with others.
The next tool is PiktoChart. I have used this tool for years before I moved to Canva. I still use it from time to time to create various types of visuals. It works in the same way as Canava. You can use it to search for ready-made templates to edit and turn into personalized graphic organizers. Lucidchart is another powerful tool to help you create beautiful graphic organizer templates.
Likewise, Creately is another good option for creating graphic organizers. There is an Education section in its Template Gallery where you can access tons of professionally designed diagram templates created specifically for teachers and students. And of course, Google Draw is another option to consider. Unlike the preceding tools, Google Draw is free but does not offer any pre-made templates. You need to create everything from scratch.
Increasing the Value of Graphic Organizers (Edutopia)
The Great and Powerful Graphic Organizer (Cult of Pedagogy)