Graphic Organizers are used to add power, creativity and higher-order thought to learning
Graphic Organizers can be used to narrow thinking (bad), or to expand and make thinking flexible (good).
Graphic Organizers are the right tools...if they are used for the right reasons.
Some Graphic Organizers are designed as reusable/ multi-use templates, but the payoff for their use occurs when students' thinking expands as a result of their use.
Sure, Graphic Organizers can be geared down to help students remember facts, recall correct answers, and memorize their test-taking "Strategies."
However, Graphic Organizers shine when they stretch students' thinking up the higher-order ladder.
Make the most of your instructional time with your students by choosing more complicated, complex, no-right-answer questions and activities for the organizers. Choose organizers that require creativity, analysis, and evaluation. Ditch the cram-facts-now-forget-facts-by-Friday style of Graphic Organizers
It's All in the Presentation
The same Graphic Organizer can be used to elicit lower-level, or higher-order thinking. The main difference can be found in the quality of the higher-order questioning and the instructions that the teacher attaches to the assignment.
Graphic Organizers, by themselves, can be a fad. When master teachers craft assignments using Graphic Organizers to clarify and drive curriculum content (and students' construction of knowledge), Graphic Organizers can seem like magic.
Note: Graphic Organizers can work like magic, but, Graphic Organizers are not "Magic Bullets."