Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Think, Think, Think

I attended a fantastic 3 day conference for the International Primary Curriculum a couple weeks ago. My mind was really buzzing with ideas and inspiration from these 3 days. I learned so much. I can't nearly post about all of the things I learned, but the most useful included using Thinking Maps.

Devised by Dr. David Hyerle, the 8 maps are a visual representation of thought processes. They are a wonderful way to teach students to organise their thoughts and extend their thinking. There are many benefits of teaching students to use these maps, but the most important is that they see their thinking.

The 8 maps are for:

1. defining in context
2. describing with adjectives
3. sequencing and ordering events
4. identifying part/whole relationships
5. classifying or grouping
6. comparing and contrasting
7. analysing causes and effects
8. illustrating analogies

The best part of the maps is that they can be used at all ages. They can be explicitly taught and eventually, students will be able to identify and picture in their minds which map they need in a given situation.

Now, I have yet to start using them, so I will let you know how it goes in September! I'm really looking forward to it. My students will only be 6 years old, so I will probably just start with modelling their use for the start of the year. We will use the maps together or in groups. They are very easy to incorporate into the IPC because most unit activities use the wording from the above list of 8 thought processes. However, I can also already see some great ways to incorporate them into Literacy and Maths activities.

If you have great examples of how you use Thinking Maps, please share them!

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