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Making Thinking Visible - Mrs. McCaskill & Dimmick's 6/7 class

Strategy: Generate, Sort, Connect, Elaborate: Concept Maps 

Description: This is a thinking routine to help students appreciate the connections between the ideas we learn. It is a routine for organizing one’s understanding of a topic through concept mapping 

Students are reminded that connections are an important part of learning and the key to developing a depth of understanding. 

The way in which we think of knowledge as broken up into all these different fields is misguided. Actually, all of knowledge is connected, and if we spent a bit more time understanding those connections, understanding the context of what we know, that is where real understanding comes from, where the real breakthroughs come from.” -David Deutsch

Instructions for students:

  • Choose at least 12 words from the list of ideas we have learned. 
  • Sort them from largest ideas to supportive details. 
  • Connect ideas and elaborate, explaining their relationship.

Purpose: What kind of thinking does this routine encourage? This routine activates prior knowledge and helps to generate ideas about a topic. It also facilitates making connections among ideas. Concept maps help to uncover students’ mental models of a topic in a non-linear way. 

Application: This routine is useful as a post or ongoing assessment to see what students are remembering and how they are connecting ideas. Explaining and discussing maps with partners helps students to consolidate their thinking and gain other perspectives.


Updated: Tuesday, November 30, 2021