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Writing Papers - Using a Graphic Organizer

I am currently teaching a Personal Development college class which is required for all new in-coming freshmen. In this class, we learn about learning styles, AVID strategies, how to take notes, how to read a textbook, etc. Their final project is a poster with an accompanying paper.  Here are the guidelines I give my students when it comes to writing the paper.

1) This paper should link and connect your ideas with any aspect of self, identity and personality concepts, mindset or learning styles we have discussed in class. In other words, use the class readings and discussions as a “lens” through which you view this person. Do this by using specific vocabulary used in class (e.g. conscious identity claims, growth or fixed mindset, grit, introvert or extrovert, learning style, soft and hard skills, etc.). 

2) Be sure to discuss how and what made this person successful. You might discuss their background, how and where they were raised, what challenges they overcame to succeed, how they reacted to failures and mistakes, what gave them the desire to succeed. 

3) This is not a facts paper about the person. This is about the character traits and attributes of the individual. Although facts can be included, most facts should be on the poster part of this project.

The first semester, the papers were just awful. I could use other words, but needless to say, they were painful to read. The next semester, I created A Graphic Organizer for Writing Papers. My students were amazed at how much easier writing a paper was. Many had never used a graphic organizer like this in English; so, this whole concept was new to them. (This was hard for me to believe, but I guess on the college level, such visuals are rarely used.) 

Only $2.75
This graphic organizer not only helped my students to arrange ideas thus communicating more effectively, but it also facilitated understanding of key concepts by allowing the students to visually identify key points and ideas more efficiently.

The blank graphic organizer found on Teachers Pay Teachers is divided into 11 sections, one for each paragraph. The students write the main idea followed by five details for each paragraph, not in sentence form but in a few words. Separate grids for the introduction and conclusion paragraphs are included. Even though there are 11 paragraphs, the organizer can be reduced to include as many paragraphs as you desire. My students were required to write a paper that was about two pages in length (500 words) when typed; so, this worked well in getting them to that point. Why not take a peek at the preview to see what you think? And if you choose to purchase the item, I would love your feedback.

I trust your students will find this graphic organizer easy to use as well as being a helpful aid in writing papers.