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Strategy #3: Creating graphic organizers

Rather than asking your students to use a template for their graphic organizer, you might want to have them create it themselves. This allows them to think more creatively and, quite honestly, some readings can't be put into neat diagrams. Take a complex section from one of your assigned readings, and ask the students to visually represent the main ideas and supporting details of the text by drawing and coloring in their own concept map. Make sure they understand that their graphic organizer must not only demonstrate the key ideas, but that it should also articulate the relationships between them.

As a way to encourage students to create graphic organizers, provide (or have them bring) colored pencils, markers, or crayons. Students are generally perplexed when asked to draw and color in class. However, adding an element of fun and creativity to the process sparks their interest and makes it easier for them to recall the process and then do it on their own.