Graphic Organizers, Pictorials and Comparatives: What the Big Difference?

strategy tips Apr 02, 2024

Graphic Organizers, Pictorials and Comparatives: What’s the Big Difference?

Drawing while talking, isn’t that the whole idea?  Does it really matter what you call it?  While the title isn’t going to revolutionize the learning experience, the purpose behind what you’re doing will. 


Let’s start at the beginning.  The BIG picture.  When introducing a new unit topic we first orient the content in time and space. 

How does everything we’ll be learning fit together? 

This is the purpose behind the Graphic Organizer.  It might be a world map, a timeline, the kingdoms of living things, or any other kind of graphic organizer that gives the BIG picture of the unit.  

The graphic organizer is generally the first input chart presented in a new unit of study.  

Now, consider your emerging bmultilingual students.  What does a graphic...

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Building Success with Team Tasks


Have you ever been part of a team or committee where one person does all the work?  Or conversely, one person doesn’t contribute.  The same holds true for our students.  

Have you ever tried moving desks into team formation… and then reverting back to rows because it was so painful?  Yep.  We know the feeling.  

Once students are in teams we start by teaching the social skills needed for collaboration to take place. What does collaboration look like?  Sound like? (See T-Graph for Social Skills in Acceleration 101: Setting the Stage). 

Once you have teams and the T-Graph for Social Skills in place, it’s time to assign team projects or “tasks.”  

Setting up those team task for success is our insider tip for today! 



Spencer Kagan is a researcher we refer to for ideas to support...

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Team Tasks: for practice or assessment?

strategy tips Jan 03, 2024

One of our favorite parts of a GLAD® training is on the last day of the demo when we ask the students what helped them learn. One of their favorite parts is always working with a team during team tasks. The student teams are usually very cooperative and productive during that time but there are occasions, just like in real life, when they are not. In order to be convinced that cooperative learning is worth the effort, the teachers will understandably ask:  

What do I do if my kids are messing around during team tasks?  Does the quality of their work matter? 

The short answer is – Yes, the quality of their work matters. Here are a few key points to keep in mind. 

  • The purpose of team tasks is small group practice. Remember, in the gradual release of responsibility model we start with whole class for input, small group for practice, and individual work for assessment.  All of the team tasks will eventually turn into individual tasks that...
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Bell to Bell Instruction


Bell to bell instruction is the idea that everything that happens from the start bell until the dismissal bell is an academic task that engages students toward the learning goals. It is one of the characteristics of a high performing school. 


There are many ways that teachers can accomplish this, but we’ll focus on one idea. Reducing transition time! 


Let’s reflect on how many transitions there are in the average school day and how much time they take away from instructional minutes available. In the average elementary classroom, there are between 5-10 transitions a day. Come sit on the carpet, go back to your seat, go to your reading group, wash your hands, line up for a specialist or lunch, walk to and from specials or lunch, etc. If each one of these transitions, conservatively, takes 3 minutes that’s 15-30 minutes of lost instruction time a day. If we’re counting based on the reality of a 5-8 minute transition, that is...

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Where's My Answer?

strategy tips Nov 28, 2023

Have you ever used matching worksheets with students? 

You know, the ones where students connect vocabulary words to the correct definitions, math problems to the correct solutions, beginning sounds to the matching pictures...   

These can be helpful tools for individual assessment and preparing students for similar testing techniques in standardized tests.  They can be made even more kinesthetic and engaging through online tools such as Jamboard for individual practice at home.  

That’s nice, you say… but what does this have to do with Project GLAD®? 

Project GLAD® strategies have the power to take what you already do or need to teach, and present it to students in a way that increases language development, communication, social interaction, memory retention and student engagement.

The “GLAD” version of a matching worksheet is a strategy called...drumroll please...

Where’s My Answer

Where’s My...

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Setting Up Your GLAD® Classroom

strategy tips Aug 30, 2023

The beginning of the school year brings with it the feelings of anticipation, excitement, and nervousness for students and teachers alike. Dusting off our classroom libraries, moving furniture, and preparing bulletin board space for our students’ first projects are physical tasks we do to set up our classrooms. But we also set up our classrooms by thinking through the classroom structures and routines we’ll use this year.


Were the management structures you used last year effective? Are revisions needed?


Here are 3 quick steps to set up your GLAD® classroom: 

  1. Create your heterogeneous seating chart

Place student desks in teams of 3 or 4. Use any data from last year you have available to create your best guess of heterogeneity. Mix students from different reading levels, problem solving abilities, language proficiency levels, behavior, gender, etc. You’ll be able to update your seating chart the second time around as your beginning of the...

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February Favorites: Add to the Walls

strategy tips Feb 06, 2023

Favorite Strategy Extension: Add to the Walls

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.  Bright copper kettles and…

Ah, February is a month for favorite things! 

Favorite people. 

Favorite flowers.

And favorite strategy extensions.

A favorite conference presentation for teachers is when we present a strategy with extensions that go beyond the basics.  This year at NABE and WABE we’re focusing on extending Chants above and beyond with various Add to the Walls options.   



Today, we’re focusing on using Add to the Walls with Chants.  But the process works alongside any GLAD® chart: Pictorials, Found Poetry, you name it! 

Once a chant has been processed whole class, it's time for teams, partners and individuals to interact with the vocabulary and content through a variety of menu options called Add to the Walls. This strengthens student vocabulary usage and deepens content...

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Practice Listening Comprehension with Listen and Sketch

strategy tips Dec 06, 2022

Looking for a low-prep December strategy that still packs literacy benefits? 

The classroom is a buzz of activity and energy this time of year. If you're looking to calm the energy, increase engagement, all while practicing literacy skills, look no farther than Listen and Sketch. 

Listen and Sketch is a GLAD strategy where teachers read a descriptive text in chunks. During the reading, students listen. When the teacher pauses, students sketch. The Listen and Sketch strategy practices listening comprehension and visualization.  

There is a growing body of research on the importance of oral language development and listening comprehension. The more background knowledge and vocabulary young children have early on, the better readers they will become.  

Primary reading instruction is a 2-prong model. Students learn decoding skills and comprehension and language skills. However, the same texts cannot be used for these two types of instruction...

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Can the Narrative be done electronically?

strategy tips Nov 14, 2022

Teaching through stories is a fun, engaging way to teach your standards and vocabulary. The Project GLAD® strategy, Narrative Input Chart, is the strategy we use to teach fiction and non-fiction content that embeds academic language. But some teachers find the prep to create a narrative daunting. We are often asked, "Can the Narrative be done electronically?"  

Yes! The benefits of creating a Narrative in a slide deck are ease of prep and set up, ease of sharing with colleagues, and using the narrative with small groups. You can even convert your power point narrative into an mp4 that students can play on-demand. We created this tutorial to show you how. Check it out!  

Narrative Tutorial 

Thanks for reading!

Sara and Jody


Here's what coming up Next!!


Acceleration 301: Read All About It!

If you liked learning about the Narrative Input Chart, you'll love our winter Acceleration boost. This module launches...

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Monitoring and reporting the growth of our ELs: The ELD Group Frame

strategy tips May 17, 2022

Final report cards are coming up!  

The school year is about to wrap up and assessment is on everyone’s mind. We will soon report for the final time the content and skills our students learned this year.

For our English language learners, the ELD standardized test they took this spring will give scores how their language skills have progressed in listening, reading, speaking, and writing.  Unfortunately, these scores are not helpful in informing what we write on our report cards or supporting our students oral language development in these last weeks of school. 

What classroom-based assessment will help me determine my students’ oral language growth and proficiency?

The Project GLAD® strategy, ELD Group Frame, is a no-fuss, low-prep way to get a snapshot of students’ English proficiency. From this running record of oral language, we can get a record of language skills they have mastered and ones that will inform our future...

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