July 6, 2010



This is a writer's tool for:
~ brainstorming words to include in a piece
~ searching word lists to find synonyms for "tired" words
~ a reality check for those of us who get repetitive

The visual "cloud" presented is ideal for my visual learners, who see charts, graphs, outlines, and organizers as making a lot more sense than multiple paragraphs. I think of these kinds of minds as defaulting to an architectural world-view. A 5-paragraph essay outline written in pictures, with sentence fragments masquerading as captions, and some boxes with main points inside them is accessible and comfortable. And, I might add, prevents shut-down.




The fireball 15-year old "spectrum" student I worked with today illuminated why writing is so difficult for kids like her. She gets caught up in one or two single sentences in laborious detail, while forgetting about holding the big picture in mind. This is a classic roadblock of certain kinds of brains and I have seen it over and over - the struggle of a mind on the ADHD or Autistic spectrum trying to tell you the essence of a movie they just saw, summarize their trip to the waterpark, or write the theme of a book they just read.

So again, graphic organizers can be the magic ticket. I use many versions of organizers for summarizing with students, and yet it is still necessary to provide "mini lessons" on:

Interesting versus Important

Know what I mean?

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