Advance Organizers

Students of all ages

  • Assess/develop/activate prior knowledge
  • Motivation
  • Set purpose for reading
  • Identify similarities and differences
  • Link new information to prior knowledge
  • Work cooperatively with others
  • Communicate their ideas to classmates

The following steps describe one way to use graphic organizers:

  1. Analyze the vocabulary of the selection and list the words/concepts that are important for students to understand.
  2. Add any relevant terms that the students already understand to help them relate what they know to the new material.
  3. Using the terms from the list, construct a graphic organizer.

Animals Example Organizer

This graphic organizer is not to show to the students but serves as a check for the
teacher to verify that the words are connected in logical ways.

  1. Put the students in groups of two or three. Give each group the list of terms and a stack of 3 x 5 index cards.
  2. The students write each word from the list on an index card.
  3. They work together to decide on a spatial arrangement of the cards that best shows the important relationships among the words.
  4. Provide assistance as the students work. The students’ arrangement may be different from the teacher’s, but if they can satisfactorily explain the relationships among the terms, their arrangement should be accepted.
  5. When the task is completed, the groups compare their graphic organizers and discuss the reasons for their arrangements.
  6. After reading the text selection, the groups revisit their graphic organizers and decide if they should make any changes in them.