How I Use It
I use the graphic writing organizers as part of the planning stage during writing. This shows them how to organize their ideas for a report or how to build up arguments in a persuasive essay. I also use the literature circle roles as a whole class exercise. I put it on the Smartboard and have everyone practice the same role when we first start. I like that the roles have sentence frames so my lower level and ELL students can easily develop questions or feedback for their circle. The most productive one I've used is the persuasive argument organizer. We used the NYC soda ban and it walked the kids through how to strengthen their arguments. When we started the writing piece, they were using arguments like, "It"s not fair to the restaurants." With the organizer, they were forced to add more details so they ended up with arguments like "It's not fair to restaurants because stores are still able to sell big sodas," and "The ban isn't effective because people can still eat fattening foods like McDonalds and candy." They were able to understand the difference that the added details made to the power of their arguments.
I've only used a small portion of the organizers on this website but have been very pleased with all of them. My kids like to complete their graphic organizers online and it helps build typing skills. The design of the organizers pushes them from one step to another so they see how the parts fit together to form the whole. It also focuses on the one area they're working on so that it takes up the whole screen and they don't get confused or have to struggle to read the print. When they finish they're organizer, they can print it out. My only complaint is saving the work is confusing and most of my kids couldn't do it and lost everything they had worked on in a previous period.