Strategy

T-Chart

Two-Column Chart

UDL 3.4 UDL 6.3

A T-Chart is a two-column graphic organizer that allows students to visually arrange and present information. This graphic organizer is most commonly used to compare and contrast ideas on a given topic (e.g., comparing advantages and disadvantages, problems and solutions, facts and opinions, strengths and weaknesses, cause and effect, etc.). T-Charts can also be used for note-taking and to organize main ideas and supporting details (e.g., characters and their accompanying traits). When using T-Charts, students begin by determining the type of information that will be recorded in each column and add details based on background knowledge, previous learning, and additional research to support each heading. T-Charts help students compose their insights and record new learnings in a purposeful way.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Graphic Organizer

T-Chart: Compare Two Texts or Works

This specialized T-Chart supports students in comparing and analyzing two texts or works (e.g. poem, song, video, photo, art) about a common theme, topic, or idea. Can be used for both literature, informational text, and multimedia sources. This T-Chart also includes visual prompts to ensure that students are citing and analyzing specific evidence from the text/work. A full exemplar model is filled out with two passages (Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Hundred Dresses) included.

Grade 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 · Reading · 6 pages


Graphic Organizer

Blank T-Chart

Blank T-Chart template that can be used for note-taking and compare and contrast activities. Template can be printed and used as-is across grade levels and subjects, or easily tailored to specific content.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · English Language Arts, Reading, Writing · 1 pages


Implementation Tips

Preparation
Prepare the T-Chart beforehand and print out copies for students to use. The T-Chart can also have column headers/topics pre-filled to support individual students or to save time and create uniformity. For an online option, try this [[http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/printouts/T-Chart.pdf|T-Chart Template]] by ReadWriteThink.
Pre-Teaching
Model how to use a T-Chart before students use one independently. Teach a mini-lesson highlighting how to include only the most important details on the graphic organizer. When introducing the strategy, start by recording observations of familiar objects, characters, or topics (e.g., characteristics of dogs vs. cats, features of circles vs. rectangles).
Visual Responses
Allow students to draw images with labels as responses on a T-Chart. Provide unlined, blank T-Charts to encourage students to express their ideas in both words and images.
Student Discussions
Provide opportunities for students to share T-Chart notes and drawings. Students can meet in a large group, small groups, or in partnerships to elaborate their thinking and learn from each other’s ideas and insights. A teacher can encourage students to add, remove, or change information on their T-Chart as conversations grow.
Supporting Students with Behavioral Issues
Encourage students to reflect on their actions by asking them to list their behaviors in one column and the positive and negative outcomes of their choices in the adjacent column of a T-Chart. After, a teacher can ask, “What do you notice about about the effects of your choices?” or “How did your actions help you/not help you to get what you wanted?” Prompting the student to answer these reflective questions using a T-Chart helps the student begin to self-monitor their actions.

Examples

Strategic Teaming
Students in an English class complete a T-Chart that analyzes factual and fictitious aspects of a story. The teacher forms partnerships, including matching some struggling readers with more advanced readers so that students have the opportunity to build comprehension and learn from each other. Students work together to read portions of the story, listing events and key details below the corresponding headings. The teacher culminates the activity by engaging students in a group debrief about literary genres and the author’s purpose for weaving together realistic and unrealistic elements within a story.
Planning Essays
When preparing to write a persuasive essay, students use T-Charts to compare, or list the pros and cons related to their topic, (e.g., views of two political candidates, why a community should switch to solar power, etc.). The teacher reviews the charts to determine whether students have enough background knowledge to successfully support their arguments. For students lacking supporting details and evidence, the teacher provides additional resources and prompts them to conduct further research. As students begin the drafting process, the teacher encourages them to refer to their planning T-Chart and consider both sides of the topic as they write their essays.
Building Vocabulary
To support a student who is learning English, a teacher creates a T-Chart with content-specific and academic vocabulary. In one column of the T-Chart, the teacher lists words in the student’s native language that they are having difficulty remembering or understanding in English. In the other column, the teacher lists the comparable words in English and includes small images/drawings to provide a visual representation. As the student becomes familiar with the format, the teacher invites the student to continue to add to this T-Chart to create a personalized dictionary.

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