Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thinking Maps Thursday

Over the summer, I took a Thinking Maps class, and I loved it! I wish I had taken the class ten years ago. One of the big AH HA moments I got out of the class was learning two important things about using Thinking Maps.  

The first thing is that starting in kindergarten whenever possible you want to use all eight maps. Of course, you don't teach them at the same time. 

The other thing, I learned, was that the goal of the class is for students to create maps independently. So, thinking kindergarten I am doing a ton of modeling with Thinking Maps knowing eventually, my students will do this independently. 

Below are some of the ways I have incorporated Thinking maps in the classroom. (To learn more aboutThinking maps click here).

Tree Map

The tables in my class are labeled with shapes. I just had each child decorate a little square that you can see the shape

On Thursdays in my class, it is always going to be Thinking Maps Thursday. I am trying to make my morning messages simple. This week we went apple picking so the message connected to that.

Circle Map

The class struggled with the question What Do We Know About Math? What You can see around the Circle Map is the frame of reference. The frame of reference is how do we know this about math.
The Number of the Day routine 

Bubble Map

At math time, the students are sorting buttons. One of the lessons in this investigation has students describe a button. The Bubble Map was perfect to have students use adjectives to describe the button.

Double Bubble 

Comparing two buttons

Bubble Bag 

On Monday, we always do the Bubble Bag. It's Mystery Monday! 
Brace Map-Whole to Part
These are the sight words we are learning this week. 


  1. Melissa, these are great examples of thinking maps. We are a thinking maps district. Do you have the preschool/kindergarten book from them? I think it's Drawing Your Thinking. I could use it everyday. I was sitting there going through training with high school teachers (it was the first time they offered training to K5) and while I was reading the fine print in the credits, I spotted this book for Early Childhood. I love to see what others are doing because it makes me think of new applications.

    Donna Williams

  2. I'm featuring this post in Bagels and Blogs on Sunday!

    Math Coach’s Corner

  3. Donna, This summer I blogged about taking the course and someone told me about that book and I bought it! That is where I got the idea for the brace map for the sight's great!! I so agree, I could use it everyday!! Thanks for your comment Donna! Have a great Friday! Melissa

  4. Donna B, Thanks for featuring my post!! Melissa

  5. There's always so much thinking going on in your room!

  6. All of your thinking maps are great! I love using thinking maps too. I have not seen the brace map with sight words. Very neat!
    Conversations in Literacy

  7. Love your thinking map ideas! I'm going to try ot incorporate your idea of THinking Map THursday and Bubble Bag Monday. What are some ideas of what you put in the bag??? Just wondering.
    Thanks for the great ideas.

  8. Hi Lisa, Today I am going to put in a pumpkin or a button. I am going to put simple things from the classroom. The key is to pick objects that are easy to describe...marker, pumpkin, push pin, book, shell, etc., At some point, I hope to have kids do it at home with a parents and bring it in! I hope that's helpful! Melissa

  9. Hi,
    Do you have a blackline for the sightword brace maps? I would love to use this in my classroom? Do you sale it on TPT?


  10. I love your thinking maps! I teach 1st grade - is there a book about 'thinking maps' for the primary grades? I couldn't seem to find anything on Amazon.

  11. Do you sell your blank sight word and "ways to make" templates?


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