Tactile Graphic Organizers

Who among TVIs either at a school for the blind or in the field has not come upon a graphic organizer that would be particularly beneficial to teach students a concept.  Graphic organizers present information in a manner that is easy for sighted students to understand.  How can these simple tools be adapted for students with visual impairment? 
 
The following simple, tactile graphic organizers were designed by Renee Toy, librarian at TSBVI, several years ago while she was teaching elementary school.  The basic frame for the graphic organizers allows for easily exchanging cards to teach new concepts. (See pictures) Students enjoy the hands-on activity and gain a better knowledge of content. 
 
Construction of two types of graphic organizers will be described, the star diagram and the column chart .  
 
The center of a star diagram is the main category and the outlying words are attributes associated with the word in the center.   A column chart is utilized to differentiate between the items in 2 or more categories. 
 
Pictures by Ditmar Hospitál
 

Star Diagram

The image is of a Star Diagram without labels.

Materials:

 

Chart Preparation Instructions:

  1. Draw a star diagram on the cardboard including the appropriate number of circles around the topic circle. 
  2. Using the hot glue gun, trace each of the lines and circles of the star diagram.
  3. Attach a velcro dot (loop) at the end of each line and one in the center of the chart.
 
The image is of the Star Diagram with labels.

Label Preparation Instructions:

  1. Using braille  paper or colored cardstock, make labels about 2" by  3".  (Larger or smaller labels may be appropriate based of the size of the cardboard). 
  2. Braille label paper may also be used for the labels and then affixed to the cut cardboard. 
  3. Print or write words using a 20/20 pen or permanent marker on the cards.
  4. Cut the upper right corner on a diagonal so that students will know which way to orient the cards. (See picture.)
  5. Affix velcro dots (hook) to the back of each label.
 

Column Chart

The image is of a two column chart without labels

 

Materials:

 

The image is of a five column chart without labels.

 

Column Chart Preparation Instructions:

  1. Using a hot glue gun, make outlines of columns as needed for the chart.  See pictures for examples of a two column and a 5 column chart.
  2. Glue a velcro strip down the middle of each column 
  3. Affix velcro dots to the center of each column if the chart is to be interchangeable or write titles for each column in 20/20 marker if it is not.   See pictures for examples of both types.
  4. If the chart will have permanent titles, make braille labels using APH label paper to place on the print titles.
 
Two column chart with labels

Label Preparation Instructions:

  1. Using braille paper or colored cardstock, make labels about 2" by 3".  (Larger or smaller labels may be appropriate based of the size of the chart). 
  2. Braille label paper may also be used for the labels and then affixed to the cut cardboard. 
  3. Print or write words using a 20/20 pen or permanent marker on the cards.
  4. Cut the upper right corner on a diagonal so that students will know which way to orient the cards.
  5. Affix velcro dots (hook) to the back of each label.

Five column chart with labels

Variations: 

The APH tri-fold board or felt board could be used as an alternative to the textured strips found in the picture maker textured strips kit.
 

Resources:

 
 
Many thanks to Renee Toy for sharing her excellent ideas!

tactile graphic organizers collage

Read more about: Science, STEM