25 FREE Google Drawings graphic organizers — and how to make your own

Ed Tech

Ed Tech | Saturday, January 19, 2019

25 FREE Google Drawings graphic organizers — and how to make your own

Using Google Drawings to create graphic organizers can help students gather their thoughts and customize to their needs.

Sometimes, we just need some help organizing our thoughts — students AND educators.

Paper versions of graphic organizers can do a nice job of that. But by making them digital in Google Apps, they instantly become customizable. Multiple people can collaborate on them in real time. They can be shared with a link, embedded in a website or downloaded as an image file.

In short, digital graphic organizers are more versatile.

In Google Apps, there’s a highly powerful yet highly overlooked app called Drawings.It gives users a blank canvas where they can add text, shapes, lines, etc. When done, they can save their work as image files or PDF files and can add those images to documents, slides and spreadsheets.

Drawings can be the virtual page where students can gather and process their ideas.

I used to shy away from doing a lot of graphic organizers because it’s hard to design them in Google Docs; the moment I learned that you could change the page set-up to 8.5 x 11 inches, my world CHANGED. Now I rarely use Google Docs to make *anything*; I use Google Slides by default because I can add more graphics and have better control of the overall configuration. — Amy Nolan, high school English teacher, Commerce, Texas

Creating graphic organizer templates with Google Drawings

As Amy mentioned above, Google Slides can be used to create these as well as Google Drawings. The difference — Drawings focuses on one single page; Slides has multiple slides, which allows for multiple pages.

I’ve created 15 of them (see links below) that can be copied, saved, changed, tweaked or completely redone to fit your needs and your students’ needs. We have added 10 more that were created by the Ditch That Textbook community and shared with us for this post.

It took me about 90 minutes to make 15 of them so that averages out to six minutes each. (Some were more time-consuming than others, and I got faster at making them as I progressed.)

Sharing your Google Drawings graphic organizers

Once you’ve created a graphic organizer (or have saved one of mine), there are a few easy ways to get them to your students:

  • If you use Google Classroom, create a new assignment and choose the option to deliver a copy of your graphic organizer to each student.
  • You can copy the URL (link) to the graphic organizer and deliver it to students via a class website, SeeSaw etc. You can also make a shorter, easier URL to type with URL shorteners like Bitly and TinyURL. (Check your Internet filter to make sure your shortened URLs come through. I’ve found that TinyURL works in most schools’ filters.)
  • Using the blue “Share” button, click the “Get shareable link” button and set the document as “Anyone with the link” at the top and “Can view” at the bottom. That way, students won’t be able to change your original copy and will have to make a copy of their own.
  • PRO TIP: When you copy a URL (link) to any G Suite file, it probably says “view” or “edit” at the end of it. If you change that word to “copy”, it will force whoever opens that link to make a copy of the file instead of opening your file. That’s another trick to keeping your original version from being altered. (If you assign it through Google Classroom, you won’t need to do this.)

Here are 25 graphic organizer templates that can be used for many different subject areas and grade levels.

Feel free to make a copy of any of these google drawings templates and adapt them for your own use:

venn diagram

Lets students write similarities and differences on a topic.

kwl chart

Lets students list: what I know, what I want to know, what I have learned.

timeline

Lets students plot dates and events over a specified time period.

evaluation graphic organizer

Lets students identify criteria, explain whether it was successful and why, and provide evidence.

cause and effect chain

Lets students identify actions that caused other actions and their effects.

Fishbone planner

Lets students list the advantages and disadvantages of a topic.

Word web-semantic map

Lets students branch ideas out from the main topic into subtopics.

Flow chart

Lets students display the linear relationship among several things.

Hexagonal thinking

Lets students connect ideas with multiple contact points. I first learned about hexagonal thinking at Google Teacher Academy in Austin, Texas, in December 2014.

Character map graphic organizer

Lets students list important information about a character, like what the character says and what the student thinks of the character.

Cornell note-taking graphic organizer

Lets students list main points and evidence, details and location.

Plot Diagram

Lets students show how a plot builds, climaxes and resolves. (Submitted by Stephanie Avera

Vocabulary cluster

Lets students identify synonyms, antonyms and related words to a specific word.

Vocabulary concept map

Lets students make connections to other words from a specific vocabulary term.

Think about your thinking

Helps students think through their decisions and how they arrived at their conclusions.

Frayer model graphic organizer

Provides a framework for a thorough understanding of new words.

Argumentative Writing Graphic Organizer

Helps students organize essays by breaking down parts of the essay in different sections. (submitted by Melissa Rasmus of Chippeway Falls Area USD in Wisconsin)

P-M-I Chart

Students examine the pluses, minuses and interesting things associated with a topic, idea or decision. (Submitted by Rhett Oldham of St. Genevieve R-II School District in Missouri)

essay pre-write

A very visual way to prepare students for writing essays. (Submitted by Amy Nolan, Twitter: @mrsnolanator)

Podcast or Audio Graphic Organize

Students do a brain dump after listening to an episode. (Submitted by Andrea Clutts, Twitter: @acluttsSVHS)

Paint Chip Vocabulary

Students find synonyms to a vocabulary word and organize them by “richness”. (Submitted by Jennifer Eggert, Twitter: @mrseggert13)

Little Red Hen Sequence Activity

Students put tiles of information in order to demonstrate understanding. (Submitted by Justin Malin, Twitter: @justinrmalin)

Immigration Graphic Organizer

Students compare events (like immigration) from the past and from current times. (Submitted by Katie Nicholson, Insta: @inthenicofhines)

Interactive Phases of the Moon

Students drag tiles in order to show the names and phases of the moon. (Submitted by Katie Von Berg, Twitter: @wadein2science)

Summarizing SWBST

Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then  (Submitted by Melissa Shields, Twitter: @MrsM_Shields)

Click on the button below for the entire folder of all of the graphic organizers in one shared Google Drive folder!

Question: What other graphic organizers would be useful to create in Google Drawings? Can you share a link to a graphic organizer you’ve created so others can use it, too? Leave a comment below!

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  • Shelly Moses says:

    Great Resources Matt! I love them and they will work so well with Google Classroom. I like using the Tools4Students and Tools4Students2 iPad apps because of their wealth of organizers, but these are even better because you remove the step of exporting the PDF. Also, since Google allows images to be dropped into the organizers, that gives another dimension.

  • Shelly Moses says:

    One organizer I’d love would be a continuum that goes from least important to most important with areas to insert the criteria. I have one I’ve used with my SMART Board for years and I have found it very useful, thought provoking, and fodder for some excellent high-level discussions. I’ved used it for concepts such as characters in a novel, scientific forces, etc. The best was a discussion with 1st graders saying it is more important to solve a problem more than once than to get it right, because if you check your work, you’ll notice your mistakes. That one blew my mind.

    Another I’d love to see is a set of nine boxes that can work like a puzzle where students have to match up pieces that go together similar to a triominoes game. I can send you photos if it would help.

    I also must mention that both of these fabulous ideas came from http://www.teachingwithsmartboard.com.

  • Keith Schoch says:

    Thanks for sharing these! I’ve been a fan of Google Drawings for some time, due mainly to their flexibility. Here’s a template for an argumentative essay that my students have used with great success, and that your readers may find useful: https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1ZTIrVixf6G2V7mvjuakFzOi0_L1fswFM53f03TNfCh4/edit?usp=sharing.

  • […] 15 FREE Google Drawings graphic organizers — and how to make your own @jmattmiller ditchthattextbook.com/2015/02/19/15-… […]

  • Thanks for all your hard work and for sharing. I really appreciate it.

  • Thank you Matt for this great resource. My students used the drawing app for the first time to create illustrations for their stories. I hadn’t though of them for graphic organizers, but it would be perfect. Based on the illustrations I recieved the students would have no problem not only figuring it out but making it an effective learning too.

  • Tracy says:

    Here is a link to a google draw graphic organizer I made based on Jim Burke’s Main Idea Organizer. Thanks for the great idea to use google draw!

    Tracy

    https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1IrERShknFo5EHW3FRYFOu45d033TplqNwg3K5Q5LBTo/edit?usp=sharing

  • […] Google drawings graphic organizers.  […]

  • Melissa Rasmus says:

    How about a Frayer Model ?

  • […] 15 FREE Google Drawings graphic organizers — and how to make your own | Ditch That Textbook A great explanation of how teachers and/ or students can use existing technology to better organise their ideas and thoughts. “Paper versions of graphic organizers can do a nice job of that. But by making them digital in Google Apps, they instantly become customizable. Multiple people can collaborate on them in real time. They can be shared with a link, embedded in a website or downloaded as an image file” […]

  • Karen Janowski says:

    The graphic organizers are currently view only. Is there a way you can share them so that students can input text, in other works, make them editable?

    • Matt Miller says:

      Sure, Karen … two ways —

      1. When students load the organizers, they can make a copy into their own Google Drives. They can then edit and turn the file in to the teacher by sharing it or using something like Google Classroom.
      2. When assigning work in Google Classroom, teachers can distribute files as “make a copy for everyone” … kind of like a digital photocopier. Each student gets his/her own editable version of the organizer.

  • Thanks for these great templates. I created this GO that is based on one from the book Common Core Guidebook by Rozlyn Linder.

    https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1aoISOMNxd6_Io7X5QBoorVSuwO8jS8aFy_rL37TmS_8/edit?usp=copy

  • Dennis Carroll says:

    Dear matt, I really like the work that you’ve done and you are truly an inspiration. Our school has recently gone GAFE and I as the ICT teacher have been tasked to implement it in our school, alone;) Help may come later..? I was looking through the templates that you have designed and I noticed that many could be used in our school. I added the folder to my drive, but i am not allowed to share it with other teachers. Is there a way that I could share it with other teachers, or would I need to download, convert, and then upload again? Thank you so much for the work that you’ve done, and wish me luck as it seems there is so much to learn.

    Also, any suggestions on the best way to learn to be a Google teacher and admin? There seems to be a sea of information with the basics, but I need to figure out more advanced features and be able to train other teachers, all in 6 weeks.

  • […] Google Drawings Graphic Organisers – Matt Miller […]

  • […] This can be anything from a Venn diagram, to seating plan to a sporting line-up. Matt Miller has created a great collection of templates to easily copy into your […]

  • […] Beginning with a central idea, mind maps involve adding branches and keywords to build a deeper understanding. Colours and images are used to convey more meaning. Although they can be drawn, there are also a range of programs you can use to create mind maps, including bubbl.us, Freemind and Google Drawings. […]

  • Eric Curts says:

    Matt, I created a help guide and video webinar on creating graphic organizers with Google Drawings, and made over 20 free to use graphic organizer templates. You can access all the resources here: http://ti.apps.sparcc.org/videopd/20141204-graphicorgs

  • […] Beginning with a central idea, mind maps involve adding branches and keywords to build a deeper understanding. Colours and images are used to convey more meaning. Although they can be drawn, there are also a range of programs you can use to create mind maps, including bubbl.us, Freemind and Google Drawings. […]

  • […] Beginning with a central idea, mind maps involve adding branches and keywords to build a deeper understanding. Colours and images are used to convey more meaning. Although they can be drawn, there are also a range of programs you can use to create mind maps, including bubbl.us, Freemind and Google Drawings. […]

  • Shannin says:

    I hope this isn’t just a newbie question, but is it possible to add one of your drawing slides into a Google Slideshow that I am creating?

  • […] Diigo search resulted in finding this site, that had some great Google drawings make into graphic organizers.  Presto! Just what I was looking […]

  • Jill says:

    I learned about this from edupaths.org and am excited to have the resource.

  • Kerry Odonga says:

    Great ideas Matt and co. I also use Solo Taxonomy to help my students reach deeper thinking processes when interpreting and writing about artworks in Visual Arts. New South Wales, Australia has a very rigorous Visual Arts syllabus and this graphic organiser has been useful to my students across Years 7 – 12. (11-18 years old)
    It can easily be adapted to other subject areas. Essentially the process breaks down into the following; 1) Misses Point (Identify/Do simple procedure) 2) Multi-Structural (Describe/List/Combine) 3) Relational (Compare/Contrast, Explain causes, Analyse, Relate, Apply 4)Extended Abstract (Theorise, Generalise, Hypothesise and Reflect.
    Points 1 and 2 are Quantitative while 3 and 4 are Qualitative.
    http://bit.ly/29vzY4O

  • David Loertscher says:

    Can a picture on a Google Drawing become a link to a website? Something like ThingLink does?

  • […] 15 FREE Google Drawings graphic organizers — and how to make your own | Ditch That Textbook […]

  • Kimberly Robertson says:

    Are the color blocks on your Frayer Model sheet editable? I wanted to re-size them and can’t figure out how.

  • […] Sometimes, we just need some help organizing our thoughts — students AND educators. Graphic organizers can help. These "make a copy" graphic organizers can do the trick!  Click here to view! […]

  • […] recently incorporated Matt Miller’s graphic organizers into my classes- and I like how they can be used as an assessment. Have your students organize the […]

  • Grace Odebunmi says:

    Interested

  • Achonwa Ebele Felicia says:

    I want to learn how to do classroom video calls

  • Jess says:

    So helpful! Thank you!

  • Margaret says:

    Another graphic organizer that would be helpful is a sequencing graphic organizer so students could put a story in order of first, next, then, and last.

  • Rebecca says:

    Excellent! All in one place- Thank you!!

  • Jen says:

    Hi, Can I use these free graphic organizers in my math e-book? I am planning to write one for students outside US. Thanks…
    https://ditchthattextbook.com/15-free-google-drawings-graphic-organizers-and-how-to-make-your-own/

  • […] Check out: 25 FREE Google Drawings graphic organizers — and how to make your own […]

  • […] You’ll find a list of 15 other free Google Drawing organizer templates at the Ditch That Textbook website. […]

  • Lumumba Moses says:

    Great Find!!!

  • Great post on Google Drawings. Some quite interesting templates. Like to share another 19 graphic organizer templates. These can be easily used for writing, reading, teaching, learning, brainstorming and comparing. I’m sure your readers will find it useful.

  • […] the template from Ditch That Textbook here. Laura Steinbrink shares here how she used Frayer a Good friend with Kahoot! And Keith Pedzich […]

  • J says:

    When I clicked the button for “bonus” download in one folder they came view only. If I download them one at a time I can use them.

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