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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thinking Maps

I was sent to this training and I have to admit I was a little skeptical going in. First of all, I hate being out of the classroom, even for professional development. And secondly, I already knew about graphic organizers.

But WOW! What a training! Talk about giving your kids access to critical thinking tools. There are 8 maps that are used and each one follows a pattern-unlike common graphic organizers that can look like anything. After they complete the map they add their "frame of reference" which can ask them to think about things like why it's important or how they know that answer. We've just been "playing" with them in class until our whole staff is trained next month, but here are a few examples. If your school is looking for ways to help kids think critically, I highly recommend this training.


bubble map comparing Sassy's perspective of her herself in the beginning of the story Dancing in the Wings (based on Debbie Allen's experiences) and then her perspective of herself in the end.

Why is it important? You be yourself and always be happy.
Why is it important? Because she's a famous dancer.

Because it shows that she's proud and happy what [she's] doing.


Circle map-I had the kids write details about themselves-parents had to find their child's before our parent meeting. Why is it important to think about these things? "Because you should tell people about your life to be friends".


Flow map for sequencing. We read Ruby in Her Own Time about a duck whose parents are worried about because she's a bit of a late bloomer. I asked them to write about landmark things from their lives. Why is it important-because it is my life.


I love her first box-I was born, but my brothers were NOT. Why is it important? Because I think I'm special.


They're very easy to implement. The kids love them and are really picking up on how to use them very quickly. You can make the map as a pre-writing activity or just to show things in a more visual way. But my favorite part is it makes them really have to think (something you know I believe we don't do enough of these days). Highly recommended! :)
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