Background: A concept map or web graphically organizes main ideas and details from a unit of study. The concept map is an effective instructional tool that can be used before, during, and after a unit of study. Preparing a map of ideas is an effective pre-reading experience used to elicit students’ knowledge about a topic. During reading, students can use the map to record details collected from their research. The maps can be used during revisit and reflection activities to help students add, change, or synthesize information.
Procedures: Write words or phrases that describe the topic or focus of study in the center of a page. Ask students to share ideas that are related to the topic. Write their responses as offshoots from the center. Select one of the offshoot ideas and ask students to share ideas that are related. Continue to create a detailed web of ideas to activate and assess students’ prior knowledge about the topic. Revisit the map to add, change, and summarize details collected from students’ research.
Example: Migration: What words come to mind when you read the word migration? What do you know about migration? Ways to organize the ideas students generate: Migration By Land, By Sea, By Air, Reasons For Migration, Time Factors, Places, Potential Dangers, Ways We Help Species Who Migrate
Variations: Encourage students to generate their own creative graphic organizers during a unit of study. Invite students to include sketches on concept maps. Have students use a completed map to summarize facts in oral and written presentations.
Reading Strategies: Make Predictions, Ask Questions, Activate Prior Knowledge, Set Purposes for Reading, Build Vocabulary, Make Connections, Categorize Information, Summarize Main Ideas and Details, Draw Conclusions, Synthesize Information, Make Inferences