Thinking Maps – Sophisticated, Targeted Graphic Organizers for your Students

April 10, 2007 at 5:54 pm | Posted in education, elementary, graphic organizers, learning modality, schools, teachers | 1 Comment

There are very few programs mandated by our district that I find extremely useful and actually increases my effectiveness as a teacher. The Thinking Maps program and the Write from the Beginning program does. If you are a teacher, let your district know so that you can get training in these programs.

The Thinking Map program is a set of 8 “thinking maps” or graphic organizers targeted at specific comprehension skills. A student, with proper teacher modeling, can easily learn these thinking maps and begin to apply them in all subject matter.

For example, after a few weeks of modeling the Tree Map, which is used to categorize, and the Circle Map, which is used to put knowledge in context, I placed my students into groups of four and simply asked them to find spelling patterns in their spelling words for the week. I gave them chart paper and markers. Immediately, three of my groups made Tree Maps and started sorting the spelling patterns. One group used the Circle Map, realized that the Circle Map wasn’t doing what they want it to do, revised and used the Tree Map instead.

Now, I use these Thinking Maps in all subject areas and for all sorts of activities. Thinking Maps enhances comprehension, and funny enough, teaches comprehension! My inner city kids can SEE the thinking that goes into a lesson now because of these highly sophisticated graphic organizers.

I’ll be sure to take pictures of some Thinking Maps and post them in the near future!


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  1. Another really brilliant teaching idea CT 🙂 I too use these but they are from a slightly different source called “graphic organisers”. I would love to see how your students are using them – pics when you can please 🙂 A
    Oh and incidentally, there are freeware ‘mind-mapping’ programs out there – not usually as comprehensive as Thinking Maps but worth a google.

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