Flow Map for Writing – Explanation

April 16, 2007 at 12:13 pm | Posted in elementary, graphic organizers, learning modality, teachers, third grade, writing | 1 Comment

Let me explain a little further the use of the flow maps, a thinking map, in organizing writing.

flow_map_writing

You can see from the picture the parts of the flow map and its purpose.  It’s very self-explanatory.

Why do I enjoy the use of these thinking maps for my inner city students?  It is a visual way to organize writing.  I want to tap into as many modalities as possible when I teach, this is one way to tap the strength of my visual learners.

How do I teach this flow map initially?

I actually start with the main ideas.  We first create the rectangles for the main ideas and the blank lines for the details.  We focus on the main ideas and the three significant details for that main idea.  After we discuss the main ideas and details and finally feel in the flow map, then we move to the opening paragraph (Who, Did What, When, Where, and sometimes Why).  At the end, we work on the closing paragraph.

I find that my students have difficulty with main ideas and details.  Using a flow map and concentrating first on the main ideas and details is a wonderful scaffold for my students.  They immediately grasp the concept of main ideas and details (that it’s the chunk of their writing).  And everything else is just the bookends.

When you start with the opening paragraph, the students struggle with the content of the writing mentally, all the difficulty of the writing is there in the opening paragraph, they can’t get started, they have to do their entire writing right now and they can’t see the shape of what’s to come.  This way, they create the body first but just focusing on one main idea, flesh it out with details, and by the time they are done with al the main ideas, the entire writing is pretty much done except for a couple of sentences at the beginning and at the end.

Try teaching writing inside out like this!  You’ll see how easy it is to teach writing organization, content, main ideas and details!

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  1. [...] we created a flow map to organize our writing. Please visit this post “Flow Map for Writing – Explanation” for an in-depth discussion of the Flow Map and how I use it in the [...]


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