For English majors, every concentrated class involves in-depth writing. Writing projects are usually diverse and can be based on a variety of writing styles. But regardless of the writing format, the student will have to explore several ideas before making a commitment. This can be a challenge for some students. There are many ways that can help organize ideas. One pre-writing strategy that aids in organizing, exploring, and planning ideas is using idea organizers.
Clusters or webs are usually used for brainstorming, exploring, and organizing information. Webs work from a central idea from which details are extracted. The preferred graphic form for clusters is a circle. The topic is written in a center circle; other circles, with details about the topic, are linked to the center circle. You can add more details to each preceding circle by adding more circles.
Inverted triangles are typically used to help narrow down topics that are too big or too general. The form of choice for this organizer is, of course, an upside down triangle. The triangle includes four to five lined sections. At the topic section of the triangle is the broad topic. The second section below it should include one part of the broad topic. The third section should include one part of the second topic. Keep unraveling topics until you find one to focus on.
If you are writing a story, story maps help you gather details about various elements of story, including setting, characters, and the plot. The story map diagram starts with the name of the story at the top, circled. Lines from the circle are linked to three-square boxes below it - one for notes on setting, one for plot/conflict, and one for characters. The three boxes are linked to a rectangular box, which includes information about the various events within the story. This box is connected to the outcome/resolution box.
Observation charts organize sensory details. The five-column chart is used to list details that are associated with the five senses. This information helps when writing compositions that require a lot of imagery like short stores, plays, and other dramatic pieces. List details for your senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell) in separate columns. Organizing imagery information, by way of observation charts, helps the writer bring to life visual imagery in a story.
When doing a comparison of two groups, it is best to organize information using T-charts. This organizer lists details about two people, places, or things. They are also a good resource for showing two sides of an argument, comparing and contrasting, or showing points of view. A T-chart is easy to make. Draw a large "T" and write your subjects at the top left and right sections. Then, list your information in the column below each subject.
When planning to write a speech or a debate, you may want to use a persuasion map to help you plan convincing arguments. When creating this map, you begin by stating the goal or the action that you want your audience to take in a box. Next, you link three boxes to the goal and include three reasons why your audience should do what you are suggesting (one reason per box). Each "reason" box is linked to three separate boxes that list facts and examples that elaborate your reasons.