| Home | Reading | Writing | Math | Visual Organizers | Interactivity | Lesson Plans | Resources |

mappingVisual Information Organizers

From concept maps to Venn diagrams, there are many ways to use your Palm for information organization. Use the following resources on this page to explore resources:

Types of Organizers

Explore ways to organization information including classifying, comparing, describing, and sequencing.

Classifying Information

classifying visualRules are used to group items by attributes that demonstrate relationships.

Essential Questions:

  • What items are being organized?
  • How can these items be placed together into groups that are alike or share common features?
  • What rules apply to each group?
  • What determines whether an item is included or excluded?
  • How are the excluded items alike and different?
  • How many different groups and rules are needed to organized your items?

Content Area Ideas:

  • Reading: Organize books or readings into genres.
  • Writing: Organize most and least important information.
  • Science: Group items by common characteristics such as elements of the universe

Alternative Techniques:

  • Cause & Effect. Identify causes and effects. Use for showing relationships between cause and effect. Topics include causes of war, drought, poverty, unemployment.

  • Questioning Maps. Start with a leading question. Then, identify sub-questions in different categories. Use for weighing decisions, exploring issues in a debate. For example, start with Should I buy leather, plastic, or fiber shows? Subtopics might include environment issues, cost, and appearance.

  • Top-down Tiers. The more general item goes at the top and lower tiers become more specific. Or, go from larger to smaller, more to less.

Learn More:


Comparing Information

Use a visual to compare two or more ideas.

double cellEssential Questions:

  • What are two (more more) important ideas, concepts, events, people, places, or things related to this topic or problem?
  • How are they alike and different?
  • What do they have in common?
  • What do they not have in common?

Content Area Ideas:

  • Reading: Compare the book with the movie.
  • Reading: Compare characters, plots, or settings.
  • Writing: Create similes and metaphors. Our library (family, playground, backyard, room) is ...
  • Geography: Compare two cities, states/provinces, countries.
  • Science: Compare two biomes, climates, issues
  • Math: Compare and contrast two ways to solve a problem.

Alternative Techniques:

  • Double Cell Diagram. Create boxes for two or more ideas (blue and black in diagram above). Use additional icons or symbols to show what they have in common (red in diagram) and what they do not have in common (green in diagram).

  • Matrix. Use rows and columns to compare characteristics, attributes, elements, and other features that are shared.

  • Venn Diagram. Use two or more overlapping circles to create a comparison. The intersecting portion show characteristics in common. The non-intersecting portion shows differences.

Describing Information

idea webCreate a visual description. Information is recorded to:

  • define subjects
  • generate ideas, topics, and questions
  • explore new topics
  • recall prior knowledge
  • reflect on interests

Essential Questions:

  • What is the central idea, topic, word, problem, or question?
  • What are the key ideas related to this topic?
  • How are the ideas connected to each other?
  • What are questions related to your ideas?

Content Area Ideas:

  • All: Create definitions of words, related words, examples
  • Literacy: Create a character map
  • Science: Materials needed in experiment
  • Social studies: Describe what makes an effective leader; list characteristics of a particular leader; provide examples


  • Brainstorm: characteristics, similar ideas, examples, definitions, descriptive words, questions, steps.
  • Organize: right to left; left to right; top-down; branching; general to specific

Alternative Techniques:

  • Cluster. Group ideas into clusters around "big ideas"

  • Concept Maps. A type of idea web where ideas are linked to show relationships. Arrows are used to show the direction of the relationship and labels are placed in the links to explain the relationship. For example, water -> below freezing -> ice.

  • Idea Web. Often used for brainstorming, students create boxes for each idea related to the main idea. Lines can be drawn to connect ideas.

Sequencing Information

sequencing imageVisualize the sequence of activities.

Essential Questions:

  • What is the central process, procedure, cycle, or event?
  • How does the event begin and end?
  • What are the key events, phases, stages, or steps?
  • Is there a trigger, catalyst, or specific event that creates a causal relationship?
  • How are the series of elements related to each other?
  • Is the sequence linear or can it be recusive or branched?

Content Area Ideas:

  • Reading: Retelling a story.
  • Writing: Journaling
  • Science: Steps in the scientific method
  • Science: Use PGeo Timeline Palm Software to explore geologic time scale.
  • Science: Track the history of radioactive decay at a specific location.


  • Add to the steps as you follow the process yourself.
  • Brainstorm all of the step. Then put them in order

Alternative Techniques:

  • Log
  • Plan
  • Timeline
  • Linear
  • Branched
  • Recursive

Other Sources of Graphic Organizers

Try It!
Brainstorm a standards-based example, set of information, and type of organization (classifying, comparing, describing, sequencing). Design an activity using Inspiration for the Palm.

Return to Top

Palm Software

There are many tools for creating visual information organizers on your Palm.

Return to Top

Lesson Ideas

Use the following strategies to create, share, and expand projects:

  • Jigsaw
  • Think, Pair, Share

Try It!
Identify a standard(s) and activity idea.
Select an information organizer that matches the thinking required in the activity.
Create an example containing specific content.
Create a template for students to use as a starter.
Design a sharing or expansion activity.

Return to Top

| Home | Reading | Writing | Math | Visual Organizers | Interactivity | Lesson Plans | Resources |

Developed by Annette Lamb, 1/06.