This post is focused one one of the Seven Elements of a Differentiated Writing Lesson Workshop: graphic organizers.  I am sitting here at Suburu, enjoying their new WiFi, while I await a new battery for my car.

There are a lot of books being sold to teachers that feature a variety of black-lined masters of generic graphic organizers.  I used to own books like these, but I gave them all away as I became a more seasoned teacher of writing.  Pictured, at left, is one of them.

A one-size-fits-all, generic graphic organizer is a good tool, but it's not a great tool.  I have come to believe that graphic organizers need to be very specific to the lesson at hand.  At WritingFix, with all new lessons that are posted, we ask the submitting teacher to provide a lesson-specific graphic organizer, and they have been getting better at designing them with all the examples now posted at the various lessons.  I actually teach a pretty fun 90-minute workshop that shows teachers how to use the table-making tools in Microsoft Word to design great graphic organizers like this one.  Now that's lesson specific!

This year, we opened up the invitation to WritingFix users to take note of the graphic organizers we've provided for the lessons, but to adapt them before actually teaching the lesson.  After all, how do we become great writing teachers?  By recklessly borrowing big ideas from others' lessons and adapting them with our own ideas--the ones we know will work better with our current group of learners.

Those books they sell us with generic graphic organizers don't encourage this type of adaptation.  I wish they did.  I know for a fact that I learned to make really good graphic organizers by adapting ones from lessons I borrowed from colleagues.

So...the reason for this post is actually this: I am very excited to announce that another teacher has adapted a graphic organizer from WritingFix, and then she has shared her adaptation with us, which is totally cool in my opinion.  Someday, I envision WritingFix being a storehouse of original lessons with lots of other teachers' original adaptations included at those lessons.

Here is the graphic organizer adaptation that got shared and posted this weekend.  Thanks, Kerry!

Here is the original lesson that inspired the adapted graphic organizer!

I hope more teacher-users of WritingFix start sharing their adaptations.  Yes, that was an invitation from me to get out there and continuing to "borrow recklessly" while giving back at the same time.



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