Saturday, March 14, 2015

Book Study: Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites: Chapter 5 {Graphic Organizers}

Today I'm linking up with Michelle Oaks over at Fabulous in First to talk about chapter 5!  

Can you tell that I am REALLY enjoying this book? Like I said before, I read and find myself nodding my head vigorously because I'm already doing so much of it.  But can I just tell you that feels GOOOOOOD!?!!?  Remarkable, as a matter of fact. Have you ever reached that point where you say "I can't do ONE MORE NEW THING" "Leave me alone!!!!!!"  

Okay, first let me just say I try many, MANY new things every single year.  I just can't imagine sticking with the same 'ol same 'ol - but....I've reached my cap this year.  With the newness of a school-wide WIG {wildly important goal}, data notebooks, math workshop, Marzano, and other odds and ends...this brain couldn't hold one more new, this book has been a perfect pat on the back and brought some oldies but goodies to the forefront of my thinking - gotta love that!

Strategy 5:
Graphic Organizers, Semantic Maps, and Word Webs

"They address both the left and the right hemispheres of students, so they are beneficial to all.  The students strong in the left-hemisphere can supply the verbage, and the right-hemisphere students have the option of showing what they know pictorially." {Marcia Tate}

Who doesn't like the sound of that?  Are you like me?  I go through hills and valleys with things. I use something a ton, and then for some reason, something else takes their place and I temporarily forget about that other thing I used to do.  That's me with graphic organizers.  I was using them a ton.  I've purchased several awesome packs of them on Teachers Pay Teachers! I also try really hard to make my own on chart paper....mind you, I don't have an artistic bone in my body!

After reading this chapter, I just know I have to incorporate them into my teaching more than I currently am....why?

"Because the brain remembers images more easily than just words, graphic organizers are one of the tools that are effective for organizing patterns." {Feinstein, 2004}


My brain is not wired for graphic organizers.  I don't know - is there another hemisphere?  They have never helped me and as a matter of fact, sometimes I get so caught up in understanding how a particular one works and what it's trying to teach me - that the concept has been lost for me.  

Having said that...I do realize they work for most!

A goal of mine, after reading this chapter, is to not only use them more than I have been in my classroom - but have my students create their own!

"Having students create a mind or concept map is a meaningful strategy for helping them make sense  of and learn vast amount of new content" {Budd, 2004}

Do you use graphic organizers in your classroom?  Do you use them across the content areas or do you find that you use them more in one area than another?  Is there anybody out there like me, that doesn't find them particularly helpful in their own learning? {I know, I could be completely alone here - wouldn't be the first time - HA!}

Head on over to Michelle's blog to visit other bloggers who shared their thinking on this same topic!  


  1. I think you bring up a great point when you say that graphic organizers just aren't something that your brain is wired for. That makes me think how our students all think differently and need different ways to organize their ideas. It's definitely about finding what works best for our students and is going to help them succeed! Just because something works for most, doesn't mean it works for everyone!! Thanks for bringing up a really great point! Have a great rest of the weekend!


    1. This chapter reminded me that just because I learn one way doesn't mean others I want to incorporate more graphic organizers into my teaching!

      You have a great weekend, too!

  2. Holly,

    I agree with you... some of the graphic organizers out there are so complicated or so hard for the little ones to write in that they're hard to work with! I love the idea of having the kids create their own... organizers that make sense to them would be something they'd be motivated to use over and over again!

    1. Thanks! I do realize that I may be in the minority - and I really do need to incorporate this style of learning into my classroom more!

  3. I love your honesty Holly! I agree with you completely about trying new things EVERY year! This year I feel like I've been reinventing the wheel almost weekly because of so many new demands and programs. It makes you start to feel like you're drowning! I think your takeaway from this chapter is great, have kids create their own! I always provide my students with the graphic organizer but since we have so many different kinds of learners why shouldn't they create one that works for them?! I hope you have a great weekend!

    Teach Talk Inspire

    1. Hi Jayme!

      Thanks for visiting! You just gotta stop and breathe when you feel overwhelmed with the newness...

  4. I love the idea that book gives about kids creating their own organizers. I think your post just reconfirms this. Thanks so much for linking up.

    1. I have just loved participating in this book study! Thanks for hosting!

  5. I totally agree! It is so nice to read something and think...'hmm I'm doing the right thing' instead of 'okay I need to change everything I'm doing.' While I agree, change is good and needed to stay up on best practice in the classroom, it gets so overwhelming to try to change too much at the same time.

    Sara J Creations


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