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Graphic Organizers For Writing Information Essay Topic

How Graphic Organizers Help Students Master Writing

Graphic organizers are diagrams that guide students in creating visual representations of the facts, ideas, and concepts of a given school assignment. As versatile classroom tools, printable graphic organizers come in countless formats and are used for every subject and grade level, with writing graphic organizers being one of the most widely used applications.

Graphic organizers for writing are found in elementary, middle, and high schools, and are instrumental in helping students classify and categorize information, map sequences of events, develop concepts and opinions, and brainstorm ideas—all essential to good writing. Graphic organizers encourage students to approach writing assignments systematically and creatively. Here are some ways graphic organizers for writing are used:

Teachers often choose writing graphic organizers based on the form of writing to be done. Persuasive writing graphic organizers, for example, help students think about their viewpoint, establish their argument, and map out the key facts in support of their argument.

Graphic organizers are also used for expository, narrative, descriptive, and creative writing. In creative writing, story graphic organizers help students in all phases of story writing and reading. Among the most popular are Story Maps, which come in various formats and support students’ understanding of character traits, plot structure, sequence of events, and themes.

Writing process graphic organizers help students brainstorm and plan in the prewriting stage, and grow as writers as they work toward completion of a writing task. Graphic organizers of various configurations have been designed to assist young writers as they compare and contrast, determine solutions, or simply write a paragraph, to name just a few of the challenges aided by these templates.

Graphic organizers also have an important role in English language arts and content area writing. An elementary graphic organizer could help young students understand the relationship between vocabulary words and their meanings, while a middle school graphic organizer might guide a class in clarifying the cause-effect relationships of science topic. High school graphic organizers are also plentiful and, for example, could be used to illuminate the timeline of a social studies issue. In fact, graphic organizers have been shown to foster more in-depth thinking and writing in all subjects.

Graphic Organizers and Your Child

Due to their visual nature, graphic organizers support a wide range of students, including those with special needs and English language learners. You’ll find many excellent sources for graphic organizers online, as well as in books. Take notice of the graphic organizers your children bring home from school and let them show you how these visual tools are used for assignments. You’ll become conversant in a new language, learning the difference between a Spider Map, T-Chart, Thinking Tree, Venn Diagram, and Mind Map, among a seemingly endless list of graphic organizers. Get to know the different types of graphic organizers and you might adopt a few for your own business and personal tasks.

Can graphic organizers be over-used?
While graphic organizers are a valuable aid to learning and a boon for visual learners, they can sometimes hinder students if used excessively. In particular, advanced students can become bored with a graphic organizer when they already understand the concept. Observe how your children interact with graphic organizers, and help them use these learning tools to their advantage. As always, discuss learning problems you observe with your child’s teacher.

We are particularly excited about the success of Time4Writing in building students’ writing skills through the use of graphic organizers and other proven methods. A unique online writing program for elementary, middle school, and high school students, Time4Writing pairs your child with a certified teacher for one-on-one writing instruction. Time4Writing’s eight-week online writing courses are highly effective. Find out how Time4Writing can make a real difference in your child’s writing.


Ask any student – essay writing is one of the most despised tasks of their educational career.  Perhaps there is so much displeasure associated with the task because it’s perceived as too linear – there isn’t enough visual and creative appeal. But if you use graphic organizer for writing then you can make writing enjoyable – or at least less terrible.

Not only enjoyable but graphic organizers (or diagrams) can make the writing process a snap.  They’ll help you think outside the box, draw conclusions you wouldn’t normally observe, and make the entire process faster and more efficient.

Why Use Graphic Organizers for Writing

The phrase “graphic organizer” is just a fancy way of saying “diagram” or “visual aid.”  Basically, they are a visual representation of the information you’ve acquired in the research process.  There are quite a few reasons why you should use them when writing essays or summaries.

  • Helps you visualize your research and how elements connect with each other
  • Enhance your essays, summaries and research papers with visual elements
  • Track correlations between your thoughts, observations, facts or general ideas.

When it comes to essay writing, the most common graphic organizers are webs, mind maps, and concept maps.

Using Webs for Brainstorming

Webbing is a great way to see how various topics are interrelated.  This graphic organizer is particularly useful during the brainstorming step of the writing process.

A web can sometimes get a bit messy.  Usually, there are lots of arrows to connect overlapping ideas.  However, even with lines crisscrossing every which way, it is still a great way to visualize your thoughts. If you’re using a diagramming software like Creately you can overcome some of this because we automatically arrange the object for you.

Once you’ve created a map to document all your ideas and establish connections, you can easily transition to other forms of diagramming to better organize the information.

For example if you’re writing a research paper about the food web of the Australian bushes you can start with a diagram similar to the one below. This way you can easily visualize the web while writing the paper. This is a simple example but graphic organizers become even more important when the subject gets complex.

Food web of the Australian Bush

You can check the whole diagram by visiting this link .

Although simple this example shows the importance of using graphic organizers for writing summaries. A comprehensive diagram pretty much does the summation for you.

Using Mind Maps as Graphic Organizers

Mind maps are a great way to depict a hierarchy.  What is hierarchical organization?  The concept is simple: a singular topic dominates with each subsequent idea decreasing in importance.

Usually, the mind map starts with the thesis (or main idea) at the center.  From there, you can branch out with your supporting evidence.

Use this process to replace your traditional note taking technique – note cards, outlines, whatever.  You’ll quickly realize a mind map is a great way to formulate the structure of your essay. The thing to note here is that the nature of the mind maps force you think about sub topics and how to organize your ideas. And once the ideas are organized writing the essay become very easy.

A mind map of a research proposal ( click to view larger image )

Above is a mind map of a research proposal. Click on it to see the full image or you can see the fully editable template via this link . As you can see in this mind map the difference areas of the research proposal is highlighted. Similarly when your writing the research paper you can use a mind map to break it down to sub topics. We have lots more mind map templates for you to get started.

Concept Maps

A concept map will help you visualize the connection between ideas.  You can easily see cause and effect – how one concept leads to another. Often times, concept mapping includes the use of short words or phrases to depict the budding relationship between these concepts.

If you look closely you can see that its very similar to a mind map. But a concept maps gives more of a free reign compares to the rigid topic structure of a mind map. I’d say it’s the perfect graphic organizer for writing research papers where you have the license to explore.

By creating a concept map, you can also see how a broad subject can be narrowed down into specific ideas.  This is a great way to counter writers block.  Often, we look at the big picture and fail to see the specifics that lead to it.  Identifying contributing factors and supporting evidence is difficult.  But with a concept map, you can easily see how the smaller parts add up to the whole.

Concepts maps are great to visualize supporting elements of a concept

View the full Concept Map diagram from this link here.

Why Bother With Graphic Organizers?

If you already detest the writing process, adding another step might seem insane.  However, there really are several advantages of using them.  If you haven’t already accepted the benefits of each individual diagram style, here are some more perks of graphic organizers in general:

  • Quality essays are based on detail.  No one is going to accept your opinions and reasoning just because you say so.  You’ll need proof.  And organizing that proof will require attention to detail.  Graphic organizers can help you see that detail and how it contributes to the overall concept.
  • Graphic organizers are flexible.  You don’t need one of those giant pink erasers.  You don’t need to restructure your outline.  All you have to do is draw a few arrows and bam – the relationship has totally changed.
  • No matter what you are writing about, a graphic organizer can help.  They can be used to structure an essay on the Great Wall, theoretical physics, or Spanish speaking countries.
  • If you write an outline, can you easily see how point A influences point X?  Probably not.  But if little thought bubble A is sitting out there all by itself, you can visualize the way it ties into point R, T and X.
  • Some of us find it difficult to put our opinions, thoughts, and ideas into writing.  However, communicating our feelings with little doodles and sketches is far less threatening.
  • As a writer, our brain often feels like a 2-year-old’s toy box – a big jumbled mess.  Taking that mess and putting it onto paper with some semblance of organization is challenging.  Rather than trying to take your thoughts from total chaos to a perfectly structured list, just try to get them out of your brain and onto paper in the form of a diagram.
  • A graphic organizer helps you establish validity and relevance.  You can easily nix the ideas that don’t support or enhance your thesis.

The next time you are faced with a writing project, take a few minutes to explore the efficiency of graphic organizers.  You can find a wealth of templates here.

Have you ever used a graphic organizer to structure an essay?  How did it go?  Do you have a diagram suggestion for the writing process that wasn’t mentioned here?  Let us know!

About the Author:  Mike Hanski is an essay writing expert and a blogger for bid4papers where he writes about everything education related and shares tips about college success and study. Feel free to contact him at google plus.

concept mapsgraphic organizersmind mapsweb diagrams

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