Welcome to Teacher Tools! In this series, we share some of our favorite classroom “tools” — like graphic organizers! As visual displays, graphic organizers help all students (not just visual learners!) to see relationships among various forms of information.
There are all sorts of graphic organizers. They can guide students in classifying concepts, studying, and even in communicating effectively. In addition. graphic organizers are great tools for writing. They can be used for all steps in the writing process — from brainstorming to researching to organizing ideas! Best of all, graphic organizers are not only a tool to be used with The Walking Classroom. They are also applicable outside of use with the program!
Building on Biographies
One spot to introduce the use of graphic organizers would be with the many biographies presented in the podcasts. It doesn’t matter whether the whole class is listening to the same podcast or you have assigned a different podcast to several small groups. In either case, using a biography graphic organizer can help students summarize the life stories of famous folks.
In fact, it might be interesting to focus on specific groups of individuals. Use one graphic organizer for details on the individual. Then, compare two biographies (using a Venn Diagram) or five or more (using a table!). In fact, there are a number of “themed” biographical podcasts from which to pick for an activity like this.
- Dr. Charles Drew (4-#13, STEM-#43, Complete-#161)
- Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell (4-#15,STEM-#40, Complete-#155)
- Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (4-#19, STEM-#41, Complete-#167)
- Dr. Christiaan Barnard (4-#20, STEM-#44, Complete-#154)
- Langston Hughes (4-#16, Complete-#34)
- Maya Angelou (4-#17, Complete-#37)
- Robert Frost (4-#23, Complete-#33)
- Carl Sandburg (4-#24, Complete-#35)
- Emily Dickinson (4-#38, Complete-#28)
- Jack Prelutsky (4-#39, Complete-#38)
- Ogden Nash (4-#40, Complete-#36)
- Thomas Edison (5-#16, STEM-#9, Complete-#162)
- Albert Einstein (5-#17, STEM-#10, Complete-#163)
- Johannes Gutenberg (5-#23, Complete-#51)
- Galileo Galilei (5-#24, STEM-#5, Complete-#165)
- Leonardo DaVinci (5-#26, STEM-#4)
- Benjamin Banneker (5-#28, STEM-#7, Complete-#153)
- George Washington Carver (5-#29, STEM-#35, Complete-#158)
- Marco Polo (5-#78, Complete-#53)
- Christopher Columbus (5-#79, Complete-#54)
- Pedro Alvarez Cabral (5-#80, Complete-#155)
- Vasco da Gama (5-#81, Complete-#56)
- Neil Armstrong (5-#82, Complete-#152)
You can even expand your students’ knowledge of an individual beyond the podcast. After listening, introduce a literary link, then follow up by having your students complete a biography book report!
Sorting Science Concepts
Making sense of science concepts is a cinch . . . especially when you bring a graphic organizer into the picture. In fact, there are a number of science-specific graphic organizers (and, all in one resource!) for you to explore.
Why not listen to two scientist podcasts and use “Comparing Scientists” to see how they are alike and different? The “Sightseeing” sample would be a nice follow-up to some of the environmental podcasts, like Conservation (5-#7, STEM-#36, Complete-#129) or Marine Life (5-#76, STEM-#34, Complete-#142). Or introduce “Taxonomy Organizer” for some sorting and grouping practice after Animal Classification (4-#41, STEM-#32, Complete-#141).
Use “Rock Hunting” to extend your discussion of Rocks of the Earth’s Crust (4-#75, STEM-#17, Complete-#134) or “This Week’s Weather” to dive deeper into Meteorology (5-#11, STEM-#11, Complete-#147)! And, if your students are struggling with scientific terminology, try a graphic organizer with a vocabulary focus. Use “New Word” or “Meeting a New Word” when introducing vocabulary around any of your science (or even language arts or social studies) topics!
Explore the possibilities! There are even more graphic organizers useful for science topics (and beyond)!
And There’s More . . .
From walking logs to summarizing the content of specific podcasts, we’ve seen some clever applications of graphic organizers from our adopters. The ideas absolutely abound! Be on the lookout for future posts in this series, to learn more about graphic organizers and other helpful teacher tools!
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