Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Indestructible Graphic Organizer

Frayer Model

Ann Rice, principal of Angola Middle School, sent out an article to her staff about vocabulary instruction that caught my attention. It provided great information in regard to what we have students do with vocabulary. Because of the ease of access to information with a class set of Chromebooks, having students lookup definitions isn't an effective way to immerse students in the key terms of your unit of study. In fact, I don't know that it was very effective in my school days because I recall copying the dictionary or the glossary of my textbook word for word. In short, we need students interacting with vocabulary in a manner that will engage a student's mind. 

The article offered a couple technology resources. One resource I had never utilized before; The Academic Word Finder. This is a great free resource as teachers can copy and paste a digital text, select a grade level, and it will determine which words are grade level appropriate. This allows the teacher to quickly sift through any text and create vocabulary discussions/activities based upon the resource. 

The second was a PDF version of the Frayer Model. If you aren't familiar with the Frayer model, it requests more than just the definition of a word. It could include an image or illustration of the word (my favorite), examples, or even non-examples of the word. Regardless...it is in PDF format. PDFs are okay, but usually annotating a PDF is not the smoothest experience for students. Also, the workflow for my teachers in Google Classroom isn't great as the teach would need to download and upload each student copy to give quality feedback. So I contemplated on how to "Googlify" graphic organizers so that the workflow in Google Classroom would be a smooth experience. 

The Indestructible Graphic Organizer

There are several ways this could have been accomplished, and I admit that I probably took the long way to doing so. I could have easily taken a screenshot of the Frayer Model and inserted it as the background in a Google Slides presentation. That would have been by far the easiest route, but I like to use color. Visually appealing activities make a difference. Differentiating by color allows you to give better directions as well as help students differentiate between the pieces of information. To do this, I go through the process of utilizing Google Drawings for the background. Once your template is created, you can download it and insert it into the background of your Google Slides. The students can't move the pieces of your graphic organizer!

In Hindsight...

I realized after I made this video and template, that all the same tasks could have been accomplished through changing the slide master in Google Slides. The difference is that making it via Google Drawings makes it slightly more secure. A student could easily enter the slide master and change the format of the entire deck. If you don't want to bother with the extra steps, skip Google Drawings and jump right into the slide master settings. This will save you a few minutes of your time. It would also allow you to make easier adjustments to the activity if an aspect of your template does not work well for your class. 

I will be sure to create a tutorial for editing the slide master in the near future...