Essay Map Organizer


By Phil Nast, retired middle school teacher and freelance writer

Found In:language arts and literature, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Essay Map is an interactive graphic organizer that helps students in grades 3-12 develop outlines that include introductory statements, main ideas, supporting details, and a conclusion summarizing main ideas.

The interactive lays out a classic five-paragraph essay. Students enter an introductory sentence or two, three main ideas, three supporting details for each main idea, and concluding sentences. The resulting essay outline can be edited along the way using navigation arrows or by clicking a graphic representation in the upper right hand corner that allows students to access specific points in their essays. Final outlines can be saved to computers or thumb drives, shared, or printed.

Lesson Ideas

Included in Lessons That Use This Interactive are links to lessons that use Essay Map. In one lesson for grades 3-5, “Exploring Cause and Effect Using Expository Texts About Natural Disasters” students work in small groups to locate cause-and-effect relationships within expository text, record their findings on two graphic organizers, and then using the organizers to write a paragraph. Teachers will find lesson tabs for grade 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12.

Professional Development

Related Classroom & Professional Development Resources provides lessons, activities, interactives, and strategy guides. For example, “Implementing the Writing Process,” is a strategy guide for K-5 that explains the writing process and offers ways to apply it. The guide and its handouts can be printed separately. One user has objected to how the guide combines revising and editing and argues that the two are distinct processes. This is a valid objection but doesn’t detract from the rest of the guide.

These organizers are customizable--you may type in the headers, subheaders, directions, and instructional material that best suit your needs. 

I've included these because sometimes predesigned forms are not entirely appropriate for the task at hand.

This way, if you have a particular book title or a particular main topic that you want to appear in the organizer, you can go right ahead and type it in. 

Each customizable organizer displays areas shaded in blue--these are the areas that you may type what you wish.  Additionally, when the mouse pointer passes each of these shaded areas, a tool tip will pop up briefly as you see in the yellow box here:

Here are the 17 customizable graphic organizers.  The original completed organizer appears on the left side of each slide, and its customizable version appears on the right.

The organizers on the last 5 slides have been rotated 90 degrees to fit into the slide show.

If these graphic organizers are fairly well received, I would be happy to design more of them in the near future.



Free Download

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The following 10 graphic organizers for teaching writing (reduced in size here to fit the slideshow) are available for immediate download.



You may download them completely free of charge here.

If you would like these 10 organizers PLUS the other 40 presented on this page, you may want to download the 50 WRITERizers Collection.

This collection includes ALL 50 PDF graphic organizers for teaching planning and writing as seen above on this page. Whether you use Windows or Mac, these PDF organizers are ready to print!

And, as I mentioned back in the introduction, if you like these, I’ve got a strong feeling that you’ll also like 50 More WRITERizers—the newer sibling of this collection.

Conclusion

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free graphic organizers
I would imagine that most of the graphic organizers presented on this page would be suitable for any grade level. I deliberately left out the graphic images on some of the customizable organizers simply because I don't know what grade level you teach. free graphic organizers
Although earlier versions of Adobe's PDF software included a provision for end users to import and add their own graphics, the most recent version does not. free graphic organizers

I am acutely aware of the fact that many more types of graphic organizers for teaching writing could be designed and created. free graphic organizers
Tell me what you need. free graphic organizers

Finally, as I mentioned in the Introduction of my Language Arts Graphic Organizers page, kids just seem to GET IT better when they have a means of visually and pictorially organizing their thoughts.

The "lights" in their eyes just seem to burn more brightly . . . free graphic organizers
Best wishes to you and your kids. And, let the lights shine on.

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