Graphic Organizers and Canva

Getting students to keep on task, keeping organized is a hard part of teaching in a middle school. I coach a Robotics team, and I also work with teachers to try to build their capacity for technology skills. 

One way I try to help my kids is to teach teachers to create Graphic Organizers. Canva is a free tool that is great for creating all sorts of publications, videos, and even documents and websites.

Canva design menu

The tool is very flexible and allows you to upload graphics, or borrow from theirs. It has many great features for teachers, including classroom tools for creating alongside of your students.

There are great tutorials for teachers, at:

If you are not already using Canva, teachers can sign up for an upgrade through their verification process, and get it for free. Go to

Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers are a way to break down complicated problems into more manageable pieces. The often use colors and iconography to help convey where to focus. They often display facts, concepts, or ideas, and help students to classify and explain relationships.

A couple examples...

I was working with a teacher that is preparing for our yearly Chromebook collection, and wanted to create an organizer for a book plot study that she could print for offline use. This way, she could prepare some materials to keep the kids working after the Chromebooks are put away for the year.  

Simple Parts of Story Plot Graphic Organizer by aschultz

This design was based on another template, and we adapted it for our needs, including more graphics and colors.

I also coach FIRST Lego League. I struggle with my teams not knowing what to do next. I created this version of a graphic organizer that I will be laminating for my teams. This is designed so that my team members can write goal statements for each practice, so that everyone knows what they are working on, and that they can collaborate better to get their Innovation Projects and Robots ready ahead of competition.

As I try to run my FLL teams as student lead, the kids need to keep each other accountable. Group work skills are very low right now, and finding ways to keep the kids moving forward with less prompting from adults is key. The hope here is that I do not have to hear... "what are we doing today?" from as many kids as I have.
Copy of Robotics FLL Astronaut Roles by aschultz


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