Thursday, March 15, 2012


Oh. My. Word. Do you ever come across an idea that you know you are going to LOVE? Well, that happened to me. And that idea is text-mapping.

I follow a blog called Teaching My Friends because of the text-mapping pin I found on Pinterest (see the blog post here). I love to read this teacher's blog because she has so many wonderful ideas! As soon as I saw the text-mapping idea, I knew I had to steal it.

For the last two days, I've been teaching the students how to text-map in small groups. We used a two-page article from a current Scholastic News Magazine issue. The plan was to teach them how to do it in small groups because next week, they will be mapping a 6-page text to review our economics unit!

Here are some pictures, then I'll explain.

All you need to do is copy the text you want the students to use. It could be any nonfiction text, but it's a double bonus if it's content the students NEED to learn. We are currently discussing the upcoming 2012 Presidential Election, and this series of issues is talking about topics the presidential candidates will be debating. The kids are interested in it, and it's relevant. Like I said, the next time, we'll do it on a social studies lesson.

This one was two pages; I just gave them both copies and had them tape them together so you can see the whole article there at once. If you do more pages, tape all of them side-by-side like a scroll so they can see the entire lesson laid out.

I chose to use markers instead of highlighters because there are more color options. I went step-by-step through the article, asking students to locate these items:
*Glossary (it was really a "Words to Know" box, but we discussed how it acted as a glossary)
*Bold words
*Concluding sentences
*Topic sentences

As the students found each thing, instead of "highlighting" it, they drew a box around it. The students talked together about why each thing was correct or incorrect. They did a lot of discussing and helped each other when needed (see the first photo above).

It was really nice to search for topic sentences because we also discussed supporting details. It was a wonderful review lesson.

The students made a key at the top of the page as they were working. Afterward, the finished text-maps were mounted on large sheets of construction paper. They are posted all over the room! They are beautiful!

The students really enjoyed this activity, and they learned much more from the article than if they had simply read it. Students DID have to read the article in order to find topic sentences and supporting details.

Here are some more up-close pictures of the text-maps:

I am glad I taught this in small groups to introduce the activity. I think it will help them when they do the BIG project next week. They will work on this with partners. There was a lot of excitement in the air this week!

If you are wondering what others did while I had the kids in small group text-mapping, here are some photos of that!

These students are reviewing the 19 amendments we've learned this year. They had to ask 3 questions for each amendment: 1) What does it mean in your own words? 2) Why is it important? 3) How would life be different if we didn't have it?

These students are creating a timeline for the ratification of the 19 amendments we studied this year (can you tell we're reviewing amendments?!)

These students just finished a Study Island quiz on the amendments, and they are now playing an amendment sleuthing game

These students are blogging about books they are reading

These students are watching several Brain Pop videos about voting and presidential elections, making bubble maps as they watch, discussing and adding to their bubble maps, then taking the quiz after the video "for fun"

We've been doing this for two days, and the kiddos LOVED it! A TON of learning occurred, and the kids didn't feel like it was regular ol' school work. I even really enjoyed it! BONUS! Let me know if you have text-mapped or if you are interested in it, then try it and let me know how it goes!