Graphic organizers allow students to display and organize their thinking concretely–whether they’re reading a novel or their history book. This three-part series will share a new (downloadable!) graphic organizer with each post.
In the previous post, we met The Stick Man. In this post, we’ll be talking about the handy dandy Story Map.
This tool allows students to summarize and visually depict main ideas of a novel or text. Each box on the chart represents a different chapter or event. In the small box in the right-hand corner, the students can number the boxes sequentially. In the large box, students draw a picture summarizing the main idea of the chapter (or historical events or science concept, etc). And in the rectangle at the bottom, students write a sentence summarizing the main idea.
For younger grades, this can be very simple: A simple drawing of the characters with a simple sentence describing the drawing.
For older grades, this exercise can involve more detail and synthesis: The drawings can be very detailed, and their summary sentences may need to include more than one main idea to encompass the important events of an entire chapter.
When to use it:
- As a study guide before a history test, to sequence major events.
- As an organizational tool before writing essays (a different point or paragraph can be organized in each box).
- As an assessment tool to see how well students understand the main ideas of each chapter in a novel study. The pictures also show you what a student is visualizing as they read. Additional sheets can be added for additional chapters.
- At the beginning of the year: Have students complete one about themselves, using major events from their own lives!
How to use it:
- Download the graphic organizer here. Once students get used to using the organizer, they can draw their own versions on paper.
- Model how to complete the diagram thoughtfully. Complete the first one together as a class, so students can see that you want thoughtful responses and detailed visualizations.
- If students need more practice with the diagram, have them complete one on themselves, next.
- Then, have students complete the diagram independently on whatever book or concept you’re studying.
- Colored, detailed story maps make great classroom displays for open house, too!
To download the story map, click here.
Coming next in this series: Story Strip Sequencer
Got a good graphic organizer idea? Share your thoughts! One lucky commenter from this post will receive a $20 School Box gift card!