Several years ago, I wrote a quick Tip of the Week highlighting a handy graphic organizer called Cubing. It was basically an easy way to ask kids to think about a specific topic using a variety of cognition levels or to help them summarize their thinking after reading and before writing.

At the time, I provided a simple cube template that you could print out and use with your kids. And you can still use the template, it still works.

But thanks to my new buddy at Tracie’s Favorite Places via #sschat, I was introduced to a cool tool that can help you and your kids use the cubing graphic organizer idea in new ways.

Called Cube Creator and maintained by the ReadWriteThink people, the tool encourages high levels of summarizing by your kids. Use the online Creator after kids have read text or primary sources, after a class discussion, short video clip, or some other sort of content collection activity. The Cube Creator is not the final product but it’s great for helping them focus on the content as they start to write or create products.

They’ll get a downloadable Planning Sheet and a printable cube that they can cut out and tape together.

The interactive Cube Creator offers four options:

BioCubeIcpnBio Cube: This option allows students to develop an outline of a person whose biography or autobiography they have just read; it can also be used before students write their own autobiography. Specific prompts ask students to describe a person’s significance, background, and personality.

MysterCubeIconMystery Cube: Use this option to help your students sort out the clues in their favorite mysteries or develop outlines for their own stories. Among its multiple applications, the Mystery Cube helps students identify mystery elements, practice using vocabulary from this popular genre, and sort and summarize information. Specific prompts ask students to describe the setting, clues, crime or mystery, victim, detective, and solution.

StoryCubeStory Cube: In this cube option, students can summarize the key elements in a story, including character, setting, conflict, resolution, and theme. Students can even identify their favorite part of the story. This can be used as an alternative to the Story Map interactive.

CYOCubeIconCreate-Your-Own Cube: First three versions of the Cube don’t fit your unit? The Create-Your-Own Cube is your answer. This version allows teachers and students to generate their own questions or topics. Teachers can type in the questions, lock them from editing using the padlock icon, and save the file using the Save tab at the top of the screen. The saved file can then be shared with students to enter in their responses. Students can also customize cubes on topics of their choosing.

If you go to the ReadWriteThink Cube Creator page, you get a variety of lesson plan ideas across grade levels and content areas.

Have fun!