What is a T Chart?

T-Chart Layout -Compare and contrast - cause and effect graphic organizer

A T Chart (or T-Chart) is a graphic organizer that separates information into columns, traditionally for comparing. It gets its name from the basic version with two columns: it looks like the letter "T" and is both versatile and commonly used across all subjects.

T Charts Help You:

  • Compare and contrast two or more items
  • Separate information into groups
  • Show change

Breaking Down the T Chart

The T-Chart is an easy-to-use and versatile graphic organizer because of its straightforward layout.


All of the information of your chart is in the columns. Depending on what type of information you are recording or displaying, there may be more information in certain columns than others. Some columns may have only words or only pictures. Make use of the available space to leave room for ease of readability!


The labels at the top of the of the chart dictate what information is placed side by side. Here are a few kinds of headings you might use at the top of a your chart:

  • Pros and Cons
  • Character and Traits
  • Before and After
  • Cause and Effect
  • Then and Now
  • Concept and Example
  • Noun A and Noun B
  • Word and Definition
  • Hypothetical Situations and
    Potential Outcomes

Using T-Charts in the Classroom

ELA History Foreign Language STEM
  • Cause and Effect
  • Point of View
  • Quote Analysis
  • Literal Meaning Vs. Expression
  • Tenses
  • False Cognates
  • Cause and Effect
  • Equivalents
  • Vocabulary

The most common use for this type of graphic organizer is for comparison. The layout is ideal for comparison because it demonstrates a clear divide for the items or topics. The storyboard format allows for plenty of variations when it comes to using the chart for comparison, including the ability to compare more than two items by simply adding more cells. Comparing can be used for any subject, but on Storyboard That, the T-Chart is so much more!

Another great use is to create T-Chart worksheets! Use templates digitally or print them out for students to fill out by hand, or even give them a choice!


One of the unique types of activities that our teacher authors have come up with is using the T-Chart for acronyms! See an example below and take a look at some of the other articles using acronyms and mnemonic devices with Storyboard That:

English Language Arts

The T-Chart is an excellent layout to show comparisons in English Language Arts activities, but the layout is also perfect for showing examples side-by-side. The dividing lines of the T-Chart help to separate different components.

Example ELA Activities


Often when we study historical events and politics, we need to understand both sides of an argument. The T-Chart is a perfect way to show the beliefs or circumstances of two or more people or groups.

Example Activities

  • Cause and Effect
  • Point of View
  • Quote Analysis

Foreign Language

Learning a language is hard work, and a T-Chart can help organize information! Use a T-Chart for comparisons of meaning and tense.

Example Foreign Language Activities

  • Literal Meaning vs. Expression
  • Tenses
  • False Cognates

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

Use a T-Chart to compare temporal changes as well as characteristic differences. Storyboard That allows you to make up to ten rows and ten columns.

Example STEM Activities

  • Cause and Effect
  • Equivalents
  • Vocabulary

Application for Special Education

The ability to add a visual component to a graphic organizer is a huge benefit for visual learners! There is a large push on meeting the needs of various types of learners in the classroom and by incorporating the visual aspect, it allows you, the teacher, to reach more students without having to do extra planning. In addition to using the T-Chart for all of the above reasons, integrate this storyboard graphic organizer into PECS Boards, First Then Boards, and more. Check out our Special Education resources for more ideas!

Looks Like/Sounds Like

A Looks Like/ Sounds Like T-Chart is much more specific in its use. This is more of a learning tool that teachers use to help teach their students about behaviors (typically classroom behaviors). In a standard Looks Like/Sounds Like activity, the teacher would write the behavior down at the top of the chart and then, as a class, they will describe how a specified behavior both looks like and sounds like. As a result, the students all know what is expected of that behavior. This is great tool for classroom management! The Looks Like/Sounds Like format will sometimes include a third category called 'Feels Like'. This is optional, but can easily be done by including an additional cell.

Related Activities

How to Introduce T-Charts



Start by explaining to students the purpose of T-charts as a graphic organizer. Describe how T-charts help organize information, compare and contrast ideas, or analyze data. Emphasize that T-charts visually represent information in a clear and structured manner.



Display examples of T-charts related to the topic or subject you are teaching. Discuss the structure of a T-chart, which consists of a vertical line (the "T") that divides the chart into two columns. Explain that the left column is for one category or topic, while the right column is for another category or topic.



Model how to fill out a T-chart using a familiar topic. Demonstrate how to label the left column with one category or topic and the right column with another. Provide examples of information that can be recorded on each side of the chart, highlighting similarities, differences, or relevant details.



Engage students in a guided practice activity. Provide a partially completed T-chart or have students work together to fill in a T-chart related to the current lesson. Scaffold their understanding by offering support and feedback as they organize information and make connections using the T-chart.



Transition to independent application by assigning students a task or question that requires them to create their own T-chart. Provide clear instructions and a specific topic or prompt. Encourage creativity and critical thinking as they fill out the T-chart with relevant information or ideas.



Conclude the introduction to T-charts by reflecting on the process and discussing the benefits of using T-charts as a learning tool. Ask students to share their experiences, insights, and challenges they encountered while using T-charts. Highlight how T-charts help organize thoughts, compare information, and visually represent concepts.

Frequently Asked Questions about T-Charts

What is a T-chart, and how can it be used in the classroom?

A T-chart graphic organizer usually consists of two columns and is used to compare and contrast two topics or ideas. It is commonly used to help students analyze different concepts and to write persuasive essays, research papers, or reports. T-charts help student learning by helping students organize their thoughts, compare and contrast different concepts or ideas, or analyze information from different perspectives. They can also be used to introduce new topics or concepts, facilitate class discussions, or as a formative assessment tool to check for student understanding.

What are some examples of how to make T-charts useful in the classroom?

Some examples of how to use a T-chart in the classroom include comparing and contrasting different characters in a story, comparing and contrasting different historical events, comparing and contrasting different scientific theories, and comparing and contrasting different mathematical concepts. They can also be used as a pre-reading activity to help students make predictions and organize their prior knowledge, as a note-taking tool during lectures or presentations, and also as a brainstorming tool.

How can teachers differentiate instruction using T-chart worksheets to meet the needs of all learners?

Teachers can differentiate instruction using T-chart worksheets by adapting the level of complexity or the type of information being compared or analyzed, based on the needs of individual learners. For example, using sentence starters or prompts can help struggling learners organize their thoughts, while more advanced learners may be challenged to use more complex language or make more sophisticated comparisons. Teachers can also provide different types of information to compare or analyze, such as images, texts, or data sets, to appeal to different learning styles and interests. By using T-chart worksheets in a flexible and responsive way, teachers can support the diverse needs of all learners in their classroom.

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