Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Graphic organizers (aka mind maps) are a visual way of putting information in the brain. Graphic organizers are frequently used in reading, but they can also be used to reinforce math skills and help children understand how things fit together. Here are three good reasons to give them a try:
     1. They encourage children to “think outside the box.”
     2. They are much more open-ended and challenging than a worksheet.
     3. They can be done independently or with a partner or small group.

Some common graphic organizers used in the classroom include the attribute web, Venn diagram, T-chart, and tic-tac-toe frame. First, I would model using the graphic organizer with a large group, and then I would assign it for an independent or center activity.

Hint! After completing a graphic organizer invite children to explain what they did. This will enable you to “understand” their thinking process and will help make learning more meaningful.  (Remember, writing and talking are two powerful ways to store things in the brain!)

Attribute Web
Have children write a numeral in the middle and then web different ways to represent that number.

Write “shapes” in the middle and then draw all the shapes they know.

Venn Diagram
Write numbers made with a straight line on the left, numbers made from curves on the right, and numbers made from lines and curves in the middle.

Put a number in the middle. Write numbers larger on the left and smaller on the right.

Write odd numbers on the left and even numbers on the right.

Write “tens” on the left and “ones” on the right.

Write a number in the middle and facts that equal that number in the other sections.

Write “10” in the middle and other teen numbers around it.

Can you think of other ways to turn mind maps into math maps?