SOS: Z Chart

Creative, research-based instructional strategies – presented by teachers, for teachers.

The Spotlight on Strategies series provides help, tips, and tricks for integrating Discovery Education digital media into your curriculum in meaningful, effective, and practical ways.

The SOS series includes more than one hundred different ideas for strategies you can use to engage students in active learning with digital media.

Leave a comment and let us know how you’ll use this strategy in your class.

Special Thanks: This strategy is courtesy Stephanie Harper of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.

 Z Chart

PDF  and Video Versions

Z Chart is a graphic organizer that helps students summarize information using linguistic and nonlinguistic representations.
According to Robert Marzano’s research, “Psychologists believe that information is stored in memory in two ways: in words (linguistic) and in images (nonlinguistic).” Nonlinguistic representations can include visual images and organizers, auditory experiences, kinesthetic activities, videos, computer simulations, etc.
Graphic organizers are one tool to help students make connections with and summarize information.

Materials: Discovery Education video segment, Z Chart template, writing tools
  1. Give each student a copy of the Z Chart template or have them construct their own in an interactive journal.
  2. Introduce the video segment to students. Ask them to record the topic or title on the graphic organizer.
  3. Show the video segment to the students. Pause every couple of minutes to allow students to jot down important points that they are hearing.
  4. Have students write the points on the left-hand side of the Z.
  5. Replay the video segment. Prompt students to add details or correct misinformation, if necessary.
  6. When second showing of the video segment is complete, ask students to write one sentence that explains the main idea or most important information they heard and then draw a picture or visual representation of the information.
  7. Provide students with the opportunity to share their Z Charts with one another.

The Z Chart strategy provides a quick way to assess student comprehension of informational text. It works well as an individual reflection tool and as a tool for cooperative groups to use when discussing a jigsaw activity.

  • Use a Z Chart as an alternative way to assess what students know. Give them a copy of the chart with only the topic filled in. Ask them to generate the important points, main idea, and image to go with the topic.
  • Use to help students with real world problem-solving. Have them write what they know on the left and have them draw a picture representation on the right.





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