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Thinking Maps

Thinking Maps are a set of graphic organizer techniques used in primary and secondary education ("K-12"). There are eight diagram types that are intended to correspond with eight different fundamental thinking processes. They are supposed to provide a common visual language to information structure, often employed when students take notes.Thinking Maps are visual tools for learning, and include eight visual patterns each linked to a specific cognitive process. Teachers may apply Thinking Maps in all content areas and all grade levels. The eight map types are:

Circle Map

used for defining in context

Bubble Map

used for describing with adjectives

Flow Map

used for sequencing and ordering events

Brace Map

used for identifying part/whole relationships

Tree Map

used for classifying or grouping

Double Bubble Map

used for comparing and contrasting

Multi-Flow Map

used for analyzing causes and effects

Bridge Map

used for illustrating analogies


       By linking each thinking skill to a unique and dynamic visual representation, the language of Thinking Maps becomes a tool set for supporting effective instructional practice and improving student performance. Teachers and students, therefore, independently apply thinking skills for their own learning while also having a common visual language for cooperative learning. By having a rich language of visual maps based on thinking processes, learners are no longer confused by poorly organized brainstorming webs or an endless array of static graphic organizers. They are enabled to move from concrete to abstract concepts, think with depth, and directly apply their thinking to complex tasks.