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How to Teach With Thinking Maps

Post by: admin | 22/02/2012 | 4308 reads

Dr. David Hyerle, creator of Thinking Maps, cites a first grader who best sums up the reason to teach with Thinking Maps: "I have all these ideas and nowhere to put them. Thinking Maps let me get them out." These graphic representations help students organize their thoughts in any subject.

Each of the eight maps serves a different purpose, from context definitions, description, classification and sequencing to cause and effect, comparison and contrast, whole-part relationships and analogies. By helping students express their knowledge in coherent form, these graphic organizers teach students how to think about the content they are learning.

1. Select the Thinking Map that best fits the task you will be teaching. For instance, if you want students to compare and contrast insects and arachnids, the double bubble map is best designed to show similarities and differences.

2. Display a completed example map in the same style that you expect students to use, on the board or overhead. In an Educational Leadership article titled, "Teaching Students to Construct Graphic Representations," Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development researchers Jones, Pierce and Hunter recommend providing handouts for the class to examine together. Use a different topic than the one you expect students to cover to avoid copycats. For example, if the assignment will be on insects and arachnids, you might create an example on comparing and contrasting reptiles and amphibians.

3. Model the process of completing a Thinking Map graphic as students follow along, filling in their maps. Elicit ideas and discussion as you work through the map so students can practice the thought process involved, recommends Jones, Pierce and Hunter.

4. Arrange students in small groups. Provide a new topic, such as comparing and contrasting Earth and Mars. Let them work together to complete the Thinking Map as you circulate to provide feedback and encouragement. Ask each group to share their completed map and compare the results from each group.

5. Introduce each Thinking Map in a similar manner and give students multiple opportunities to practice using each one. Discuss how to decide which map best fits any given task, highlighting the specific purposes of each type of map, such as a tree map for classification, a flow map for sequencing or a multiflow map for cause and effect.

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