What are Thinking Maps?

Thinking Maps are eight visual-verbal learning tools, which provides students and teachers a common language within various content areas for transferring thinking processes, integrating learning and for continuously assessing progress. These maps promote student-centered and cooperative learning, concept development, reflective thinking, creativity, clarity of communication, and continuous cognitive, linking prior knowledge, and extensive use of vocabulary .

Benefits for Utilizing Thinking Maps

In effort to make an overwhelming amount of information manageable and the content more accessible, writers use various text structures. For some students, especially average and struggling students, these structures are invisible.

Analogy for reseach-based-mental models.png


Analogies: (1) Acquiring new information is similar to putting new clothes in a closet. If you don't have something to hang the new information on, it will fall all over the floor. Your frame of reference, or prior knowledge, is like your hangers, shelves, and hooks in your closet. (2) Difference between trying to find a knife in a junk draw versus trying to find a knife in an organized silverware drawer.


To the students who cannot see text structures, every text looks like a junk drawer. Addressing this problem means students learn to see how texts are organized and how to extract the essential information from each type of structure (Just & Carpenter, 1987).