Thinking Maps 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 to study. Thinking Maps
uses basic mental operations involved in perceiving, processing and evaluating information. They
describe, classify, and sequence.
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.
|Thinking 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.||Students can also create a Circle Map using Kid Pix. Beginning writers can stamp images in the circle.|
Possible Uses: Have 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.
Possible Uses: Describe a friend, a pet, favorite candy, a game, a stuffed animal.
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.
Possible Uses: Compare 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.
Possible Uses: Categorize 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 'dissecting' on paper.
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 w
ith the subparts of each major part.
Tree Maps are good for organizing the agenda of a meeting or showing the structure
of an organization.
Possible Uses: Think 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 sub
stages 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 sub stages or each major stage.
Possible Uses: Write 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
Possible Uses: Conflicts 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.
Possible Uses: spelling words, habitats or primary food sources for animals, makes and models of cars.
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