Differentiating Graphic Organizers


Do you ever feel like this?

Differentiation has become one of the “dirty” words in many teachers’ minds.  At times, it feels like a hoop we are required to jump through or something we put in our lesson plans in case an administrator looks at them.  However, there are tweaks we can make to what we do to differentiate in meaningful ways.  Take graphic organizers for example.  Using them is second nature to us, and we use them without putting much thought into them, but they are easily differentiated to be more meaningful and effective.

Here are some straightforward and “easy” ways to differentiate graphic organizers.


  Gifted and High Achievers On-Level Learners Students Needing Support
Choice of Organizers Students generate their own organizers that match the purpose and content being studied. Students select from two or three teacher provided graphic organizers that match purpose and topic being studied. Student completes the teacher provided the organizer that best matches the purpose and topic being studied.
Differentiating One Organizer for Three Levels Teacher provides students a completed organizer that contains errors.   Students work to find and correct errors; error analysis. Students complete the provided blank organizer. Students are given a partially completed organizer and are required to fill in missing pieces of information, and/or students are given word banks to select from in order to complete the organizer.
Differentiating Resources Needed to Complete Organizers Students use a variety of resources to complete the organizer without specific guidance from the teacher. Students are given specific resources to use in order to complete the organizer. Students are provided specific resources to use as well as page numbers in order to complete the organizer.



Printing Press-Read, Write, Think

This is a great resource for students to use.  It allows them to publish their writing in a variety of formats including newspapers and brochures.  I have included the directions I wrote for my students because I didn’t see clear directions about how to save their work in order to work on it at a later time.


Newspaper Directions blog

Great for writing in the content areas!

Student Passion and TEDx Talks

This is amazing, and so are the kids. It is well worth some time to look at some of their talks.

Link to article–http://www.edutopia.org/blog/student-passion-and-tedx-talks-nick-provenzano

Link to the Kids’ Talks–https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLssxMbWpKxecYEkj3efNdxJ6-iOzRY606

Professional Learning: Differentiation Blog Post by John McCarthy on Edutopia

I found John’s thoughts on differentiation to be interesting and informative and easy to read. I really like the idea if seeing DI as a lens; this is something that I am thinking about as we drive back from Delaware.

Click HERE to Link to Blog Post