Similar to effective cueing and questioning, advance organizers relies on a focal point of what is important rather than unusual. Also, higher levels of advance organizers will produce deeper learning than lower level forms (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001). There are four general types of advance organizers: expository, narrative, skimming, and illustrated. The focus of this will be on the practical use of illustrated advance organizers within the classroom.
Using illustrated advance organizers is an effective method in providing visual representations of the information students are about to learn. From these representations, students will be able to better understand the confusing topics presented in the subject. One type of illustrated advance organizer is a KWL chart which is an effective way to guide students thought process through a classroom activity. The letters represent K for what students know about the topic, W for what they wish to find out, and L for what they have learned (Hill, & Flynn, 2007). This is a simple chart that can help students organize their previous knowledge with the new knowledge presented.
Here is an example for a KWL chart:
Concept maps are illustrated tools for organizing and representing knowledge. Concept maps often use various shapes and colors to differentiate between concepts. Similarly, they use connecting lines to link two like concepts. Concept maps can be an effective method for students to use in clarifying, organizing, relating, and grouping new or old ideas and information about the topic. Concept maps can also require students to figure out on their own the best representation of what they know and what they have learned.
The main purpose for using any sort of advance organizer is to “bridge the gap between what the learners already knows and what he needs to know before he can successfully lean the task at hand” (p. 117). Just like using cues and questions, the goal is for students to obtain a deeper understanding by making the topic relevant and meaningful. Ultimately, KWL charts and concept maps are great visual organizers to use in a classroom to help harness that deeper learning.
Hill, J.D., & Flynn, K.M., Classroom instruction that works with English language learners. (2006.). Retrieved February 1, 2013, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/106009/chapters/Cues,-Questions,-and-Advance-Organizers.aspx
Marzano, R.J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instructions that works: research based instruction for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.