As an educator, one of the instructional methods I most lean on is Thinking Maps.
It’s not the product that students produce, but rather a process for getting students (whether children or adults) to produce a richer, more well-thought-out product.
The program includes a set of 8 “maps”. Some people have referred to diagrams like these as graphic organizers, but beware, the Thinking Maps people don’t like that. Thinking Maps is much, much more.
Basically, there is one map for each identified thinking process.
Moving from left to right, then top to bottom on the diagram above:
The Circle Map: defining in context; brainstorming
The Tree Map: classifying
The Bubble Map: describing
The Double Bubble Map: comparing and contrasting
The Flow Map: sequencing; ranking; ordering
The Multi-Flow Map: cause and effect
The Brace Map: whole to part; part to whole
The Bridge Map: analogies; relationships
Talk about your critical thinking skills!
I dare you to come up with a thinking process that doesn’t fit into one of these categories. I love a good dare; don’t you?
These maps can be used with any lesson, at any level. I have used them to teach kindergarten (back in the day), as well as adults, and every age in between. I’ve incorporated them into my middle-school math class, as well as my high school, ESL English classes.
If you are an educator, whether outside the home or at home, I encourage you to check out Thinking Maps.
As a trained trainer, I’m happy to answer any questions that I can, as well.
P.S. I don’t recommend products unless I’ve fully tried and tested them. I don’t dish out compliments easily, either. This is the only one I’ll endorse so far on this blog, so it’s a keeper!