We have just completed our 7th week of school, and the energy surrounding the academic disciplines of reading, writing, math, science, and the integrated arts is awesome. You may have noticed your own child(ren)’s thinking in these disciplines taking shape in the form of Thinking Maps. The presence of multiple Thinking Maps in your child(ren)’s folders and/or backpacks may have left you wondering, “Just, what is the big deal about Thinking Maps anyway?” The purpose of this article is to provide you with a brief summary of the rationale behind the use of Thinking Maps and some ideas for supporting Thinking Maps at home.
The power of Thinking Maps lies in the patterns that they create in the brain. There are eight different maps representing eight different ways of thinking. These eight maps can be applied in all content areas and used by all teachers. Too often students compartmentalize their thinking, leaving little room to see the similarities between content areas. For example, as students explore cause and effect relationships in science and later study cause and effect relationships in reading, they may not recognize the similarities in thinking. Instead, they may regard the concepts as new and different and not be able to transfer their knowledge between content areas. Thinking Maps provide a framework to allow that transfer to happen. The consistency in the language, the application across disciplines, and the repetition of thinking allows students to integrate what they are learning across all disciplines and explore ideas at a greater depth. Figure 1 on the following page illustrates each of the 8 maps and the thinking skills that they each target.
There are multiple ways that you can use Thinking Maps at home to support your child(ren) and their thinking. The Circle Map on the following page illustrates a few ways that you can use Thinking Maps at home.
Overall, Thinking Maps support learners of all ages in developing and refining their cognitive abilities. With Thinking Maps being implemented in buildings across the district from kindergarten to 12th grade, you can be certain that your child(ren) will be engaged in the process of thinking and learning throughout their academic career in Cherry Creek School District. Happy Thinking!