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Revolutionary Thinking Maps: The Declaration of Independence

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I'm super excited to start the first of a series of posts on how I use Thinking Maps (graphic organizers) in my classroom to teach about the American Revolution.  5 things you should know about Thinking Maps--

1.  They provide students with a way to visualize and make sense of new content.
2.  If you teach them early in the year, students begin to use them independently.
3.  They are great for interactive notebooks.  Seriously great.
4.  You don't have to make copies to use them.  Pencil, paper, done.
5.  You can use them with all content.  Check out my Thinking Maps board on Pinterest for some ideas.  

Let's start with the Brace Map.  Brace Maps show part to whole relationships.  When teaching the Declaration of Independence, I love to have my 5th graders start with the primary source.  The actual document.  It's quite overwhelming at first glance.  Fancy language and unfamiliar words abound!  So, I start by drawing the skeleton of the map, showing students that we can look at the Declaration of Independence in four parts.  Then, we are able to read through and stop, summarize, and connect to what we've learned about the events leading to the American Revolution.  Check it out, below! 

Come back soon for more on using Thinking Maps to teach about the American Revolution.

--The Pensive Sloth


  1. You're so right! If you teach them early enough then students will start using them independently. And...YES, perfect for interactive notebook! Great post! Thanks!

  2. I love the idea of parts to whole. It can be so hard for students to prioritize information and recognize what topic fits above another or is a bigger idea. This would be so helpful with topic, main idea, and detail work too. Thanks for sharing.

  3. My kids really enjoy working on this type of classwork instead of a worksheet.
    Thanks for sharing.