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Ohio Partnership for Excellence in Paraprofessional Preparation

Content: Graphic Organizer Design



To get a deep understanding of how graphic organizers are constructed, it’s useful to try to create some. Creating one or more graphic organizers will also give you a chance to try out some of the resources that are available for creating them.  You can do this by hand or ask colleagues at school to show you how they use tech tools to design graphic organizers. 


First decide what you want to teach (or reinforce) by using the graphic organizer. It might be a new concept, a sequence of events, or the causes of an event. Choose something relatively simple.

Next select a type of graphic organizer that works well to teach what you are planning to teach. 

Concept Maps: are for connecting ideas to a new concept. 

Story Maps:  are for analyzing the features of a story. 

Fishbone Diagrams: delineate the multiple causes of an event. 

Flow Charts: show the steps in a process 

Then search the Internet for illustrations of this type of graphic organizer. 

Find templates to help you

Also look for tools to help you develop that type of graphic organizer. The tools might be a template or an actual on-line design program. 

You can generally find templates by using two search terms: the name of the graphic organizer (e.g., “fishbone”) and the word “template.” 

You can generally find development tools by using the name of the graphic organizer and the word “generator.” 

Word and Google have templates for graphic organizers built into their systems too.

Canva is a great resource if you know how to use it. 

REMEMBER You can simply draw it out too!

Create the graphic organizer using the template or other tool. Perhaps show it to your supervising teacher or another paraprofessional with whom you work and ask for feedback. If you are pleased with how the graphic organizer turned out and it fits with what students are studying, share it with one or more students.


  1. What was rewarding about the process of creating a graphic organizer?
  2. What was frustrating or difficult about the process of creating a graphic organizer?
  3. How might your own learning be enhanced through the use of graphic organizers?
  4. What did you learn about the specific type of graphic organizer by creating it?
  5. What other types of graphic organizers are you interested in developing?
  6. How will you use them with students you are teaching?

Module: Helping with Instruction

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