Graphic Organizers for Visible Thinking

I'm really excited that my division is focusing on vocabulary as an area of focus in order to boost reading abilities for our students. After our MS principal used stop highlighting and we decided on cut scores, we disaggregated our three strands of MAP test data on reading to identify an area of focus. As a division, we all agreed that we could improve our teaching of vocabulary. We did a "data in a day" walk-through protocol and adopted some graphic organizers which classroom teachers would use with increasing frequency. Both of them have roots in "visible thinking" and have resulted in my students showing a much better understanding on exit interviews as formative assessment.

Frayer Model 
The Frayer model starts with the concept word in the middle and then around it, students put definitions, facts or characteristics, examples and non-examples. The non-examples are particularly helpful for ESL students as some words have multiple meaning. For instance, a few weeks ago, we used the Frayer model to highlight the difference between a "conductor" in electrical circuits and a person who leads an orchestra. I went into the Google docs template gallery for a blank template and then have some online versions or have copies printed. 

The frayer model is good for words with multiple meanings like "conductor" In this case, a fulcrum is a popular character in a television show.

CSI-Color, Symbol, Illustration
CSI starts with the terminology and then students write what "color" they associate with this concept before moving onto a "symbol" and then "illustration". I first used this for the word "Testing" as we would be doing product testing for an engineering unit and I learned (not surprisingly) that students had many negative and stressful feelings, colors, symbols and pictures associated with testing. In this case, the word "testing" and use of the CSI template were meant to foster a background knowledge check of what "testing" was and show them how checking a design can be helpful in making it better. Here is a free template to get you started. 

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