Visual thinking guides

From WikIT
Jump to: navigation, search

This presents nine sources of visual thinking guides: Exploratree, Gamestorming, LexIcon, Education Oasis, TeacherVision, Freeology, Education Place and Writing Fun.


Visual thinking    Interactive Flash    Interactive PDF

Exploratree hosts a set of interactive thinking guides. This is a free web resource where you can use the guides, print them, edit them or make your own. You can share them and work on them in groups. It is aimed at schools and students, but has ideas for thinkers of all ages.

Interactive map: Flash (recommended)   PDF (problem?)

Here are some of the overall categories, names of individual diagram type and an indication of their purposes.

Click the thumbnail to see a full-size image. Click the caption under the thumbnail to be taken to Exploratree's interactive page for that diagram.

Develop ideas

Lotus blossom

Create lots of ideas around an issue then turn ideas into actions

Examine ideas

Investigate evidence and other views then make new ideas

Use the essence

Get to the heart of the issue then look for new ideas

Possible futures

Think about the way an issue may develop in the future

Solve problems

Knowing trees

Think through a question and identify supporting evidence

Reverse planning

Work backwards from the ideal future to a realistic present

Is / is not

Scope a problem by identifying what it is and is not

Complete reversal

Reverse a problem to stimulate new thinking when stuck

Digging up roots

Explore a problem by digging down to its roots


Futures wheel

Think through the consequences and knock-on effects


Helps you think about and communicate any topics, issues or problems

Question things

Question everything you read, hear and see

Compare and contrast

Make comparisons between two topics

A day in the life

Seeing things as they are experienced.


Tracking an enquiry

This thinking guide will help you to plan your enquiry

Facts or opinions

Sort out the facts from the opinions about a particular topic

Making meanings

Establish what you want to know


Substitute, combine, adapt, modify, rearrange

Traffic lights

What changes would you make? Analyse a particular situation

Different perspectives

From a different angle

Examining a topic through a variety of different lenses

Thinking boxes

Analyse from different perspectives - local to global

Plus, minus, interesting

Evaluate by identifying pluses, minuses and interesting points

Compass rose

Examine things from a variety of perspectives



Gamestorming presents thinking patterns as games, many of them visual, that will help to make meetings and discussions more fruitful and stimulating.

$ - $100 Test

3 - 3-12-3 Brainstorm

4 - 4Cs

7 - 7Ps Framework

A - Affinity Map; Air Time Mastermind; Argument map; Atomize

B - Back of the Napkin; Bodystorming; Boundary matrix; Brainwriting; Break; Build The Checklist

C - Card Sort; Communicate This & Stick it here; Context Map; Coriolis Effect; Cover Story

D - Dot Voting; Draw the Problem

E - Elevator Pitch; Empathy Map

F - Fishbowl; Force Field Analysis; Force Field Analysis; Forced Analogy; Forced Ranking

G - Give-And-Take Matrix; Graphic Jam

H - Help Me Understand; Heuristic Ideation Technique; History Map; Homepage Bingo; How-Now-Wow Matrix

I - Ice breaker; Image-ination; Impact & Effort Matrix

L - Low-Tech Social Network

M - Make A World; Mapping Business Models; Mission Impossible; Mood Board

O - Object Brainstorm; Open Space

P - Party Invitations; Pecha Kucha/Ignite; Pie Chart Agenda; Plus/Delta; Post-Up; Poster Session; Pre-Mortem; Pro/Con list

Q - Quaker Conversation

R - Random Inputs

S - Scenario Slider; Show and Tell; Show Me Your Values; Spectrum Mapping; Stakeholder Analysis; Storyboard; SWOT Analysis

T - The 5 Whys; The Anti-Problem; The Blind Side; The Pitch; Trading Cards

V - Value Map; Video Card Family Game; Visual Agenda

W - Welcome To My World; Who/What/When Matrix; WhoDo

Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers


These are described as interactive, and are in the sense that they are PDF files into which you can store your own text, but the underlying diagrams cannot be changed. Once you’ve downloaded a PDF you can type in your own thoughts and either save it or print it.

Generating, Identifying, and Organizing Details

Determining Main Idea and Drawing Conclusions

Order and Sequence

Comparison-Contrast and Cause and Effect

Process and Cycle Diagrams

Evaluating and Making Decisions

Persuasive and Supporting a Position


Miscellaneous organizers

LexIcon Interactive Graphic Organizers

Education Oasis Graphic Organizers

Cause and Effect Graphic Organizers

Character and Story Graphic Organizers

Compare and Contrast Graphic Organizers

Sequence, Cycle, Timeline, and Chain of Events Organizers

Miscellaneous Organizers


TeacherVision Graphic Organizers

  • PreK-2 Graphic Organizers
  • Grades 3-5 Graphic Organizers
  • Grades 6-8 Graphic Organizers
  • Grades 9-12 Graphic Organizers
  • Writing Graphic Organizers
  • Science Graphic Organizers
  • Math Graphic Organizers
  • Graphic Organizer Slideshows
  • KWL Charts
  • Venn Diagrams
  • Cause and Effect Graphic Organizers
  • Concept Maps and Idea Webs
  • Main Idea and Supporting Details
  • Timelines and Sequence Charts
  • Reading Comprehension Graphic Organizers
  • More Reading Comprehension Graphic Organizers


Freeology Graphic Organizers

  • Short Story Overview
  • 8 Ideas for Using Wordle in the Classroom
  • Vocabulary Organizer
  • Cause Effect Tree Chart
  • Character Compare Contrast Graphic Organizer
  • Note Taking Organizer
  • Setting SMART Goals
  • New Year’s Reflection
  • Christmas Acrostic Poem
  • What Does Christmas Mean to You?
  • Summarizing Graphic Organizer
  • Thanksgiving Turkey Acrostic Poem
  • Theme Worksheet
  • What Are You Thankful For?
  • Bio Poem Template
  • Five Paragraph Essay Outline
  • Character Analysis Graphic Organizer
  • Mapping Your Story
  • Annotations Bookmark
  • Cornell Notetaking
  • 3, 4 & 5 Paragraph Essay Graphic Organizers
  • Faux Facebook Profile Worksheet
  • I Am From Poem Template
  • Main Events Sequence Log
  • Cornell Notes Template
  • Setting and Character Development Worksheet
  • The Difference Between Mood and Tone
  • Making Connections with the Story
  • Making Inferences Chart
  • Storyboard With Four Boxes
  • Metacognitive Journal
  • The Difference Between Fact and Opinion
  • Character Qualities Quote Practice Form
  • Author Study Worksheet
  • Observation Chart
  • Story Prediction Form
  • Q and A Note Taking
  • Spider Web Organizer
  • Venn Diagram
  • Character Study Organizer
  • Evaluate Issues With This Pros and Cons Scale
  • 3 Main Idea Wheels
  • Cornell Notes
  • SQ3R Reading Comprehension Form
  • KWL = Know, Want to Know, and Learned
  • Thematic Web
  • Storyboard With Six Boxes
  • Story Plot Graph
  • Story Plot Terms Notes
  • Poetry Terms Practice
  • Large Venn Diagram
  • Column Venn Diagram
  • Triple Venn Diagram
  • Key Facts Note Taking Form
  • Cause and Effect
  • Characterization Bubble Cluster
  • Characterization Table
  • Dialectical Journals
  • Hamburger Paragraph Writing Form
  • Vocabulary Memorization Cards
  • The Handy Hand
  • Pyramid of Ideas Flowchart
  • Inverted Pyramid of Ideas
  • Concrete Detail Commentary Practice
  • Sequencing Ladder
  • Graph Paper Pattern Worksheet
  • One and a Quarter Inch Square Graph Paper
  • Horizontal Timeline
  • Vertical Timeline
  • Christmas Tree Sequencing Notes Form
  • Blank 2 Column Notes Form
  • Blank 3 Column Notes Form
  • Predict and Review Form for Short Stories
  • Fish Bones Story Analysis Form
  • Give One Get One Activity
  • Open Mind
  • Your Basic Flowchart
  • Details Tree Note Taking Organizer
  • Imagery Chart Observation Organizer
  • Imagery Tree Observation Organizer
  • Imagery Eye Observation Organizer
  • How to Search Using Keywords
  • About Me and My World
  • Research Paper Notes Form
  • Map the Story Organizer
  • Think Pair Share
  • Tic Tac Toe Note Taking Form
  • Vocabulary Word Definition Form
  • Who What When Where?
  • Coat of Arms
  • KWLH Learning Progress Form
  • Story Web Reading Form
  • Reading Response Form
  • Question Mark Organizer
  • Chain of Events Sequencing Organizer
  • Cloud Sequencing Form
  • Multiplication Table Reference Sheet
  • 6 Petals Flower Organizer
  • 5 Pointed Star Organizer
  • Prereading Questions
  • 8 Events Sequence Organizer
  • Book Critique Template
  • Reading Page Log
  • Character Development Worksheet
  • Cognitive Dictionary Vocabulary Builder
  • Double Bubble Compare and Contrast Organizer
  • The Difference Between Summarize and Paraphrase
  • Process Grid Analysis Form
  • See Hear Observation Graph
  • Vocabulary Sketches Flashcard Template
  • I Am Poem Template
  • Interactive Bookmark for Critical Reading
  • Big Idea Story Organizer
  • Poetry Terms Practice Worksheet
  • Double Bubble Venn Diagram
  • Weekly Reading Log
  • Synonyms Worksheet to Improve Your Writing


Education Place Graphic Organizers


Writing Fun Text Organizers

Example of one of the guides

The text organisers at Writing Fun have a limited graphical component, but have been included here because they fit well with the function of others, presented above. Students can use them on line, or download Word files for local use.

They cover writing well-structured:

  • Information Reports
  • Procedures
  • Explanations
  • Persuasion (exposition)
  • Discussions
  • Narratives
  • Responses
  • Descriptions

and other forms.  

Alternative uses of graphic organizers

Teachers sometimes give underachieving students partially-completed graphic organizers. All the students have to do is finish them.

For free information about the hundreds of
visual thinking tools available, visit the

Visual Thinking Center