Thinking Maps® (Innovative Learning Group) integrate thinking skills and mapping
techniques. Learning to use these strategies helps students develop
good writing skills. These techniques also help students become
better learners as they develop life-long skills that help them
Thinking Maps® uses basic mental operations involved in perceiving, processing
and evaluating information. They describe, classify, and sequence.
This program is an integral part
of the writing program- Write From the Beginning®.
The skills used with Thinking Maps® can be done with paper and pencil and many writing activities
begin with a Thinking Map®. To follow are examples using the Thinking
We hope to offer workshops for parents
that explain how the writing process is taught to your child using
Write from the Beginning® and Thinking Maps®.
The workshop is conducted by the classroom teacher and the technology
facilitator. After attending the workshop, you will be supplied
with a copy of the Thinking Maps® program (Macintosh or Windows version)
that you may use at home with your child. Ask your child's teacher
for more information.
Circle Maps are tools used to help
define a thing or idea. It is used to brainstorm ideas and for
showing prior knowledge about a topic. In the center of the circle,
use words, numbers, pictures, or any other sign or symbol to represent
the object, person, or idea you are trying to understand or define.
In the outside circle, write or draw any information that puts
this thing in context.
Map software makes it easy to create a Circle Map. There is no
limit to the number of items a student can add to his circle.
can also create a Circle Map using Kid Pix. Beginning writers
can stamp images in the circle.
your child brainstorm ways the family could spend the summer vacation,
their favorite books, gifts they could make for a grandparent,
their favorite holiday activities.
Bubble Maps are used to describe
qualities using adjectives ("sparkle words") and adjective
phrases. As a writing tool it enriches students' abilities to
identify qualities and use descriptive words.
In the center circle, write the word or thing being described.
Write the adjectives or adjective phrases in the outside circles.
a friend, a pet, favorite candy, a game, a stuffed animal.
Double Bubble Map®
When comparing and contrasting,
we use Double Bubble Maps. This is similar in concept to a Venn
Diagram. Two items being compared are written in the two center
circles. Outside bubbles show items that share qualities with
only one object - these are contrasting qualities. Center bubbles
(that connect to both circles) show similarities between the two
items being compared.
and contrast you and your best friend or Mom/Dad, your favorite
and least favorite food, characters in a book, two of your teachers,
old school and new school.
For classifying and grouping, students
learn to use a Tree Map. Things or ideas are sorted into categories
or groups. Sometimes new categories are created. On the top line,
write the category name. Below that begin writing sub-categories.
Below each sub-category write specific members of the group. Some
things can go in multiple groups.
Tree Maps are good for studying
for tests. Use this map to categorize spelling words according
to the skill being taught. Try using a Tree Map when studying
Social Studies or Science.
spelling words when studying for a test, write a shopping list
for the grocery store organized by type of food (i.e. produce,
dairy, canned goods, treats, etc.).
Brace Maps help learners understand
the relationship between a whole physical object and its parts.
They are used to analyze the structure of an item. It's like 'directing'
On the line to the left, write the
name of the whole object. On the lines within the first brace
to the right, write the major parts of the object, then follow
within the next set of braces with the subparts of each major
Tree Maps are good for organizing
the agenda of a meeting or showing the structure of an organization.
about (map out) the parts of a plant, a computer, a continent,
country, or state, a unit of measurement.
Flow Maps sequence and order a process.
They identify the relationships between stages and substages of
an event (or order or numbers, operations, steps, etc.) They can
be used to explain the order of events.
In the outside rectangle, write
the name for the event or sequence. Rectangles to follow list
the steps or events that follow from beginning to end. Smaller
rectangles may be written below to list substages or each major
a flow map at home is good practice for students to think logically
and completely. Have your child make a Flow Map explaining how
to make a bed, wash the dishes, make cookies, or tie a shoe. It's
fun to give the directions to someone else and see if they can
follow them. This is also good practice for recalling the order
of events in a story - good review before an AR quiz!
Cause and effect is represented
in a Multi-Flow Map. It is a process of sequencing that looks
at what caused an event and the results/effects of the event.
It helps students analyze a situation by looking at the cause
and effect - the 'why' and 'consequences' - good or bad.
In the center rectangle, list the
event that occurred. In the rectangle to the left, list the causes
of the event. Write the effects/consequences of the event in the
rectangles to the right of the center rectangle. If you are studying
a system, you will find that there are effects in the system which,
in turn, influence initial causes. This circular cause and effect
relationship is called a feedback loop.
between friends or siblings could be analyzed using a Multi-Flow
Map. Pick a hypothetical situation and make two Multi-Flow Maps
- one with good consequences and one with bad consequences. Map
the rain cycle, the life cycle of an animal or plant.
Seeing analogies is the process
of identifying similarities between relationships. These are similar
to the 'analogies' found on SATs with one difference being Bridge
Maps can have many 'bridges'.
Bridge Maps give students a tool
for applying the process of seeing analogies. On the far left,
write in the relating factor. The relating factor is the similar
phrase that fits both sides of an analogy. On the top and bottom
of the left side of the bridge, write in the first pair of things
that have this relationship. On the right side of the bridge,
write in the second pair of things that have the same relationship.
The bridge can continue with more relating factors.
words, habitats or primary food sources for animals, makes and
models of cars.
If you have any questions about
any of these Thinking Maps, ask your child's teacher or send us
an e-mail. We hope
to offer a workshop for parents in the use of this software after
which you'll be able to have a copy to use at home.
Innovative Learning Group copyright
Statement: The term "Thinking Maps" and the graphic
form of the eight Maps have registered trademarks. The term "Thinking
Maps" with or without the graphic form of the eight Maps
may not be used in any way without the permission of Innovative
For more information, visit their
website at www.thinkingmaps.com.