Understanding Credit Scores with Graphic Organizers

Educator incorporates a graphic organizer into their instruction to teach students about credit scores.
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About this Micro-credential

Apply for a micro-credential before December 22nd, 2017 for a $75 Amazon gift card!*

*Offer valid until 12/22/2017. To receive a gift card, participant must complete all portions of the micro-credential application including the optional survey. Gift cards will be awarded in the form of Amazon eGift Cards emailed to the account specified by the participant. Each participant can receive maximum one gift card. GFLEC reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time.

Key Method

The educator understands the cognitive benefits of graphic organizers and uses concept mapping to teach students about credit scores.

Method Components

This lesson should follow and build upon instruction on compound interest and credit card usage (See the “I Do, We Do, You Do: Calculating Compound Interest” and the “Credit Cards: Analyzing Pros and Cons Through Cartoons” micro-credentials).

What are the components of a graphic organizer?

A graphic organizer is a structured visual representation of information that is designed to fulfill one of the following goals:

  • Help students break down and understand a text
  • Organize and label information
  • Highlight key vocabulary terms
  • Understand relationships and connections
  • Pre-writing
  • Compare and contrast
  • Brainstorm
  • Guide students’ review of class material
  • Activate prior knowledge

For this micro-credential the graphic organizer should have (at minimum) the following key parts:

  • One bubble or box that contains “Credit Scores”
  • Multiple sub-headings that contain key topics such as “How is it used,” “What influences a credit score?” and “How to improve a credit score”
  • Bubbles or boxes that branch off the sub-headings and relate to those specific topics.

See the following link for an example of a blank concept map:


Suggested Implementation:

  1. Conduct a brainstorming activity to activate the students’ previous knowledge about credit and credit scores.
  2. Choose an appropriate age-level text that covers the purpose, factors, and consequences of credit scores (See the Resources section).
  3. After students read the text, begin modeling how to use a concept map. The concept map is the suggested graphic organizer to use due to its ability to easily organize a significant amount of information and illustrate relationships (See page 3 of Baxendell, 2003).
  4. Provide the students with time to create their concept maps.
  5. As a closing activity, students could use the maps to answer a writing prompt.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

Graphic organizers boost student achievement and can enhance students’ critical thinking, organization, and literacy skills (Inspiration, 2003; Polyxeni & Papadopoulou, 2012). Graphic organizers can also be used as an effective pre-writing strategy (Gillespie & Graham, 2012).


Graphic Organizers

The following sources list several types of graphic organizers. Notable organizers that engage students in the critical thinking activities mentioned in the method components section above, and that have use in a personal finance curriculum, are the concept map, Venn diagram, flow chart, problem-solving organizer, big-question map, characteristic map, and compare map.

  • The Use of Graphic Organizers to Enhance Thinking Skills in the Learning of Economics. Hong Kong: Education Department, 2001. Education Bureau. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.

Lesson Plans

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

The items in this following section detail what must be submitted for evaluation. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1,3, and 4, and a “Yes” for the artifacts submitted for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview Questions

(200-word limit):

  • How did the chosen reading text build background knowledge on credit scores for the students?

Part 2. Work Examples/Artifacts

Submit two examples of the student-generated concept maps created during this lesson.

Part 3. Student Reflection

Provide two written reflections from students who participated in the activity used for submission of Part 2. Use the following question as guidance (200-word limit):

  • How did completing the graphic organizer help you understand the text?

Part 4. Teacher Reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as guidance (300-word limit):

  • How did this technique help you communicate this personal finance content to your students?
  • Which other personal finance topics can this teaching technique be used for in the classroom?

Part 5. Survey (Optional)

Please answer a brief survey about your experience teaching personal finance. Your responses will:

  • help us understand barriers personal finance teachers face;
  • and help us improve the resources being offered to personal finance educators

We appreciate your help.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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