If you've been following my Insta-Stories over the past three days then you know I was just attending the Thinking Maps Trainer of Trainers course! I am beyond excited and grateful that my district sent me. I attended Part 1, which was three days, and Part 2 will be in February for two days.
Some of my takeaways from my training were that the Frame is everything! And I don't mean a completed Frame either! As long as the Frame is being is purposefully used and with intention, then it does not have to be complete. We participated in a "Don't Fear the Frame" exercise that really helped our group to see its many uses, and to understand the different reasons for each section of the Frame. We also brainstormed situations where students might complete the Frame before, during, or after Map completion.
Another thing that was incredibly exciting and inspiring was our learning about Map Combos and Map Hybrids. I thought they were one in the same, but it turns out, they're not! Combos are the idea of taking students through a series of Thinking Maps, from basic to complex, adding in Maps to increase rigor and thinking in that particular skill/unit/and standard. For example, you may start out with Defining, then move to Categorizing, then move to Cause and Effect, and finally finish with Seeing Relationships, and then at this final Map is when students might add their full Frame with all corners. To further increase rigor, students would write off of the last Map as a summative assessment.
Map Hybrids however, are the idea of blending two or more Maps together into one map. So you may have students create a Flee Map, which is a Flow and Tree Hybrid, and combines the thinking processes of sequencing and categorizing to assist students in planning a writing outline. This was the area I was most interested in, and was a little bit disappointed that we didn't spend more time here, but our trainer made it clear she was very available for help and assistance, so I will most likely be contacting her frequently about Hybrids!
My last takeaway was an idea that I was needing support in last year as a classroom teacher: Color Coding. We learned all the parameters for color coding, which is that it must be for a purpose. Color shouldn't be added just to add it or make the maps look "pretty." It needs to be added to make certain information leap off of the map for a purposeful way. One example shown was color coding when Describing; you wouldn't want to highlight every single adjective, or just color in all the bubbles. It becomes more purposeful when asking the question, "What are the most important qualities of this character an why?" Then students are thinking and analyzing why they are going to color to highlight two or three qualities, and will then answer this question in their Frame (and perhaps only in the bottom right corner, not the whole Frame.)
As an Instructional Coach and Master Teacher I am incredibly motivated and excited to bring all this new learning to classrooms and students!
Are you a Thinking Maps school? How has follow-up of implementation been going at your site?
If you have any questions about Thinking Maps, feel free to comment here or on IG, I'd be happy to answer them!
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I'm Mae and I am an Educational Technology Coach who supports Kinder through 8th grade teachers; I am Thinking Maps trained, with a Master's Degree in Elementary Education!