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5 Ws Graphic Organizer Worksheets For Essay

These organizers are customizable--you may type in the headers, subheaders, directions, and instructional material that best suit your needs. 

I've included these because sometimes predesigned forms are not entirely appropriate for the task at hand.

This way, if you have a particular book title or a particular main topic that you want to appear in the organizer, you can go right ahead and type it in. 

Each customizable organizer displays areas shaded in blue--these are the areas that you may type what you wish.  Additionally, when the mouse pointer passes each of these shaded areas, a tool tip will pop up briefly as you see in the yellow box here:

Here are the 17 customizable graphic organizers.  The original completed organizer appears on the left side of each slide, and its customizable version appears on the right.

The organizers on the last 5 slides have been rotated 90 degrees to fit into the slide show.

If these graphic organizers are fairly well received, I would be happy to design more of them in the near future.

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The following 10 graphic organizers for teaching writing (reduced in size here to fit the slideshow) are available for immediate download.

You may download them completely free of charge here.

If you would like these 10 organizers PLUS the other 40 presented on this page, you may want to download the 50 WRITERizers Collection.

This collection includes ALL 50 PDF graphic organizers for teaching planning and writing as seen above on this page. Whether you use Windows or Mac, these PDF organizers are ready to print!

And, as I mentioned back in the introduction, if you like these, I’ve got a strong feeling that you’ll also like 50 More WRITERizers—the newer sibling of this collection.


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free graphic organizers
I would imagine that most of the graphic organizers presented on this page would be suitable for any grade level. I deliberately left out the graphic images on some of the customizable organizers simply because I don't know what grade level you teach. free graphic organizers
Although earlier versions of Adobe's PDF software included a provision for end users to import and add their own graphics, the most recent version does not. free graphic organizers

I am acutely aware of the fact that many more types of graphic organizers for teaching writing could be designed and created. free graphic organizers
Tell me what you need. free graphic organizers

Finally, as I mentioned in the Introduction of my Language Arts Graphic Organizers page, kids just seem to GET IT better when they have a means of visually and pictorially organizing their thoughts.

The "lights" in their eyes just seem to burn more brightly . . . free graphic organizers
Best wishes to you and your kids. And, let the lights shine on.

Return to Daily Teaching Tools from Free Graphic Organizers for Planning and Writing

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Daily Teaching Tools: Links LibrarySoftware ToolsFree Teaching Software for Language Arts Middle School Kids Teaching software: Talking avatars teach 30 language arts mini-lessons via digital projector or SMART Board while you relax, 20 writing tutorials, 60 multimedia warm ups . . . Free Writing Software: Great for Journalism and Language Arts This free writing software is designed for individual workstations. 20 step by step tutorials are available for producing articles, reviews, essays . . . Middle School English: A Dynamic Collection of Multimedia Warm Ups Free download of middle school English warm up activities for display via digital projector, SMART Board, or the classroom TV. 5 activities for each of 12 categor . . Language Arts: Great Free Teaching Software for Middle School Talking avatars teach 30 language arts mini-lessons via digital projector or smart board while YOU relax. Author's purpose, how to summarize, main idea . . . Strategies and Methods ToolsMotivating Students: This Set of Strategies Really Works with Kids A comprehensive strategy for motivating students: enhance classroom participation, teamwork, individual effort, and more. Free downloads are available. Using Teaching Strategies to Increase Participation, Interest, and Motivation Teaching Strategies: Step by step examples for planning, implementing, and evaluating inductive and deductive activities that really work with kids . . . Teaching Methods: Deliver Meaningful Content with the Deductive Approach Teaching methods: The deductive approach is a great way to deliver concepts quickly and efficiently. Start with the objective and use students' responses to structure the lesson . . . Teaching Methods: How to Effectively Use Inductive Teaching Activities with Kids These inductive teaching methods are guaranteed to increase student motivation and participation. Kids learn content while sharpening processing skills . . . Teaching Methods: An Awesome Inductive Teaching Approach for All Subject Areas Of all the inductive teaching methods, this one, is clearly my favorite. Students learn content while establishing their confidence as learners. This REALLY works! Teaching with Technology: Using the Internet, Classroom Computers, Elmo, and Wow them by teaching with technology! Useful tips on using digital projectors, classroom computers, the Internet, Elmo, and SMART Board. Free downloads. Classroom Management ToolsA Comprehensive Classroom Management Strategy that Really Works with Kids Classroom Management: Establishing classroom routines, providing warm up activities, structuring instructional time, the "Going to the Movies" approach, setting expectations, and . . . Effective Classroom Management: Organizing to Enhance Discipline and Order Organizing for effective classroom management: Use these reliable strategies to greatly improve discipline and order. A place for everything and . . . Establish Effective Classroom Routines to Guarantee a Successful School Year Classroom routines: Controlling traffic, preparing students for instruction, obtaining materials, managing the pencil sharpener, maximizing instructional time, more . . . CHAMPs Classroom Management: Designing and Implementing the System CHAMPs Classroom Management: How to develop strategies for multiple instructional approaches, tips on how to implement strategies, examples of CHAMPs strategies, and . . . Tools for Teaching WritingWriting Prompts: Over 200 for Practice Essays, Journal Entries, and More Persuasive and expository essay writing prompts, reader response questions and statements, and journal writing prompts for every day of the school year. 180 Journal Writing Prompts: Enough for Every Day of the School Year Journal Writing Prompts: These high-interest prompts will encourage kids to describe, explain, persuade, and narrate every day of the school year . . . Reader Response Questions and Prompts for Fiction and Nonfiction Reader Response Questions: These prompts give students focus and purpose as they respond in writing to fiction and nonfiction they have read . . . Essay Writing Prompts For Persuasive and Expository Compositions Essay Writing Prompts: Over two and a half school years' worth of prompts for persuasive and expository compositions. Use them for practice or for the . . . Tools for New Teachers
First Year Teachers: Great Tips for Enhancing Effectiveness Ideas for first year teachers: Establishing connections with kids, showcasing relevance, managing the classroom, using classroom routines, communicating with parents, and . . . First Day of School: Absolute Musts for Getting Off to a Great Start Ideas for a great first day of school: Use the Wow! Factor, create immediate opportunity for success, establish the tone, provide motivation, describe expectations, and . . . Establish Effective Classroom Routines to Guarantee a Successful School Year Classroom routines: Controlling traffic, preparing students for instruction, obtaining materials, managing the pencil sharpener, maximizing instructional time, more . . . Teaching Resource ToolsClassroom Libraries: Acquiring Books, Establishing Procedures, More Classroom Libraries: Everything from acquiring and organizing books to establishing procedures. Free downloads of several pertinent documents. Online Teacher Resources: Free Websites Offer Great Classroom Tools These free online teacher resources offer a wide variety of useful tools: activities, incentives, reference resources, downloadables, lesson plans, and more . . . Ideas for Teachers: Please Help Us with Your Experience and Expertise What ideas for teachers could you share with us? A strategy or procedure, perhaps? Something that you have found to be effective with kids? Tools for Your Students (much more coming shortly)25 Language Arts Graphic Organizers Language arts graphic organizers: story maps, double entry diary, concept wheel, 5 paragraph essay planner, think-pair-share chart, Venn diagrams for 2 or 3 topics, Tools Coming SoonIdeas for Bulletin Boards Bulletin Boards: All you need is card stock paper for this pile of ready-to-use, fully-customizable signs and posters. These downloadables are entirely free of charge. © Copyright 2012 by Chad Manis, DailyTeachingTools.com. All rights reserved.


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Graphic organizers (some of which are also called concept maps, entity relationship charts, and mind maps) are a pictorial way of constructing knowledge and organizing information. They help the student convert and compress a lot of seemingly disjointed information into a structured, simple-to-read, graphic display. The resulting visual display conveys complex information in a simple-to-understand manner.

Increasing Understanding by Creating Graphic Organizers:
The process of converting a mass of data/information/ideas into a graphic map gives the student an increased understanding and insight into the topic at hand. To create the map, the student must concentrate on the relationships between the items and examine the meanings attached to each of them. While creating a map, the student must also prioritize the information, determining which parts of the material are the most important and should be focused upon, and where each item should be placed in the map.

The creation of graphic organizers also helps the student generate ideas as they develop and note their thoughts visually. The possibilities associated with a topic become clearer as the student's ideas are classified visually.

Uses of Graphic Organizers:
Graphic organizers can be used to structure writing projects, to help in problem solving, decision making, studying, planning research and brainstorming.

Creating Graphic Organizers:
Graphic organizers can be drawn free-hand or printed. To go to printouts of many graphic organizers, click on one of the links above or below.

Adding color-coding and/or pictures to a graphic organizer further increases the utility and readability of the visual display.

How to Choose a Graphic Organizer for Your Topic/Task (click on a graphic organizer below to go to printable worksheets):
The task at hand determines the type of graphic organizer that is appropriate. The following is a list of common graphic organizers - choose the format that best fits your topic.

Star: If the topic involves investigating attributes associated with a single topic, use a star diagram as your graphic organizer. Example: Finding methods that help your study skills (like taking notes, reading, doing homework, memorizing, etc.).

Spider: If the topic involves investigating attributes associated with a single topic, and then obtaining more details on each of these ideas, use a spider diagram as your graphic organizer. This is like the star graphic organizer with one more level of detail. Example: Finding methods that help your study skills (like taking notes, reading, memorizing, etc.), and investigating the factors involved in performing each of the methods.

Fishbone: If the topic involves investigating multiple cause-and-effect factors associated with a complex topic and how they inter-relate, use a fishbone diagram as your graphic organizer. Example: Examining the effects of improved farming methods.

Cloud/Cluster: If the topic involves generating a web of ideas based on a stimulus topic, use a clustering diagram as your graphic organizer. Example: brainstorming.

Tree: If the topic involves a chain of events with a beginning and with multiple outcomes at each node (like a family tree), use a tree as your graphic organizer. Example: Displaying the probabilistic results of tossing coins.

Chain of Events: If the topic involves a linear chain of events, with a definite beginning, middle, and end, use a chain of events graphic organizer. Example: Analyzing the plot of a story.

Continuum/Timeline: If the topic has definite beginning and ending points, and a number of divisions or sequences in between, use a continuum/timeline. Example: Displaying milestones in a person's life.

Clock: If the topic involves a clock-like cycle, use a clock graphic organizer. Example topic: Recording the events in a typical school day or making a story clock to summarize a story.

Cycle of Events: If the topic involves a recurring cycle of events, with no beginning and no end, use a cyclic graphic organizer. Example topic: Documenting the stages in the lifecycle of an animal.

Flowchart: If the topic involves a chain of instructions to follow, with a beginning and multiple possible outcomes at some node, with rules at some nodes, use a flowchart. Example: Computer programmers sometimes use flowcharts to organize the algorithm before writing a program.

Venn Diagram: If the task involves examining the similarities and differences between two or three items, use a Venn diagram. Example: Examining the similarities and differences between fish and whales, or comparing a book and the accompanying movie.

Chart/Matrix Diagram: If the task involves condensing and organizing data about traits of many items, use a chart/matrix. Example: Creating a display of key inventions, who invented them, when, where and why they were invented, etc.

Y-Chart Diagram: If the task involves analyzing and organizing with respect to three qualities, use a Y-Chart. Example: Fill out a Y-Chart to describe what you know about an animal, including what it looks like, what it sounds like, and what it feels like. Or describe a character in a book, including what the character looks like, sounds like, and how the character feels.

T-Chart Diagram: If the task involves analyzing or comparing with two aspects of the topic, use a T-Chart. Example: Fill out a T-Chart to evaluate the pros and cons associated with a decision.

Fact/Opinion: If the task involves distinguishing the facts vs. the opinions in a theme or text, use fact/opinion charts. Example: Fill out a fact/opinion chart to evaluate the facts and opinions presented in a news article.

PMI Diagram: If the task involves analyzing the plusses, minuses, and implications of a decision or an action, use a PMI Chart. Example: Fill out a PMI Chart to help evaluate the positive, negative and interesting points associated with taking a new job.

Decision Making Diagrams: If the task is making a decision, use a graphic organizer to enumerate possible alternatives and the pros and cons of each. Example: Fill out a desicion making diagram to help decide which elective courses you'd like to take next quarter.

Semantic Feature Analysis Charts: If the task is comparing characteristics among a group of items, use Semantic Feature Analysis . Example: Fill out a Semantic Feature Analysis chart to compare and contrast the care needed for various pets.

Cause and Effect Diagrams: If the task is examining possible causes and effects in a process, use a cause and effect graphic organizer . Example: Fill out a cause-and-effect diagram to trace the steps in a feedback loop..

KWHL Diagram: If the task involves analyzing and organizing what you know and what you want to learn about a topic, use a KWHL chart. K stands for what you already KNOW about the subject. W stands for what you WANT to learn. H stands for figuring out HOW you can learn more about the topic. L stands for what you LEARN as you read. Example: Fill out a KWHL chart before, during, and after you read about a topic.

Pie Charts: If the task involves showing divisions with a group, use a pie chart. Example: Draw a pie chart to show what percentages of a population have blue eyes, green eyes, or brown eyes.

Vocabulary Map: Graphic organizers can be useful in helping a student learn new vocabulary words, having them list the word, its part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc.), a synonym, an antonym, a drawing that represents the word, and a sentence using the word.

Paragraph Structure: These graphic organizers help you organize the structure of a paragraph, including a topic sentence, sentences with support details, and a conclusion sentence.

5 W's Diagram: If the task involves analyzing the Five W's (Who, When, Where, What, and Why) of a story or event. Example: Fill out a 5 W's Chart to help evaluate and understand the major points of a newspaper story.

Story Map: Story maps can help a student summarize, analyze and understand a story or event.

Character Traits: Graphic organizers help the student identify the traits of fictional characters by looking at events surrounding the character in the text.

Biography Diagrams Graphic organizers are useful to help prepare for writing a biography. Before writing, the graphic organizer prompts the student to think about and list the major events in the person's life.

Animal Report Diagrams: Many graphic organizers are useful to help prepare for writing a report on animals. Before writing, the student should think about and list the major topics that will be researched and covered in the report.

Geography Report Diagrams: These graphic organizers are useful to for doings a short report on a country or other area. The student draws a map and flag, and looks up basic information on the area.

Math Diagrams: Many graphic organizers are useful to learn and do math, include Venn diagrams, star diagrams, charts, flowcharts, trees, etc.

Scientific Method Diagrams: Graphic organizers used to prepare and organize a scientific experiment.
Flowchart of How to Choose a Graphic Organizer
To find an appropriate graphic organizer, answer the following questions about your topic:

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