I have big plans for my students this year. We are going to be diving into stories, retelling key details and major events, and sequencing stories. I have to put certain things in place first, in order for my students to be successful. This lesson sets the foundation for future successes. Today we are going to be learning the flow map. A flow map is another Thinking Map that is always used for sequencing events or putting steps of a process in order.
Like this other lessons in this unit, my students would get lost if they needed to use this map for the first time alongside learning how to sequence a rigorous text for the first time. It's early in the year, and they need time to learn the tools before applying them to content. So, today, we are going to be sequencing what the students did that morning in order to get ready for the day. Even though we aren't actually reading a text today, we are building towards standards RL1.2 and RL1.3. Students will have to retell how they got ready for school today and describe the characters, settings, and major events.
This lesson is also setting the foundation for W1.3. In later writing lessons we will be sequencing events by using our flow map and even adding temporal words such as first, next, and last. Today those words are provided on the map and as students read their map to a partner they will need to read their map using those temporal words. So you can see, I have to make sure my students' understanding of a flow map is in place before I can move on to future lessons.
For today's lesson you'll need either your Smartboard Introducing Thinking Maps or Activboard Introducing Thinking Maps lesson. You'll also need to make enough student copies of the flow map Student Copy Flow Map for each student in your classroom.
I brought my students to the carpet and they were sitting in front of the Smartboard and had my flow map projected on the board. I said, "The next map we are going to learn about is called the Flow Map. We will be reading lots of stories this year and we will have to retell the what happens in the stories. When we retell a story we need to make sure we retell things in the correct order. The map that we use when we have to retell events in the correct order or explain a process like baking a cake putting the steps in the correct order.
I then referred to my flow map and said, "Today we are going to retell how we got ready for school this morning. Now, we probably did 20 things to get ready this morning but as you can see we only have 4 boxes. So we will need to pick the 4 most important things that we did to get ready this morning. I will model for you how I got ready to come to school this morning and then you will go back to your seats and fill out your flow map on how you got ready for school. Let's get started."
I modeled by doing my thinking out loud and I was purposely silly because I think that's what makes learning fun for my students. I said, "Let's see. This morning I brushed my teeth, then I got out of bed, then I heard my alarm clock, then I got dressed." The class erupted in laughter and I heard a chorus of "No, that's not right." Then I said, "Well, I guess you're going to have to help me out. Who thinks they can help me put the events of how I got ready for school in the right order?" Students were so engaged as they help me determine which were the four most important events of how I got ready and I helped them along making sure the events were in the correct order. I love teaching and having fun at the same time.
I said, "O.K. now it's your turn. You are going to go back to your seat and I will give you a flow map. Everybody gets ready for school in a different way. I don't want you to worry if your paper looks different from the person next to you. You get to decide what the 4 most important events are for how you got ready for school today. You need to put those events in the correct order on your flow map. Remember the temporal words are already on your map to help you put the events in the correct order. If you finish early you may help someone at your table. When I see that everyone is done we will divide ourselves into partner groups and you will read your flow map to your partner."
As students were working I circulated around the room. I have some students who need a bit more support in reading and writing. Some of these students were hesitant to put pencil to paper. I helped these students form a complete thought and then I helped them to make a connection to our work in phonics. I said, "Let's segment that word first and hear each of those sounds. Then we'll write those sounds down." They were able to get their thoughts on the paper and they wrote those words phonetically. For some of my advanced students, I made sure they were using correct conventions because I knew they were ready to focus on that skills. If I saw incorrect usage I would say, "How do we start a sentence? What do we need at the end of a sentence?"
Once students were finished with their maps. I numbered my students off by 1's and 2's. I had 1's stand on one side of the room and 2's stand on the other side of the room. I said, "Now, we are going to learn something very quickly now. We are going to be respectful of each others feelings right now. Think about how you would feel if you asked someone to be their partner and they said no. You would be hurt, right? So let's not do that to someone else. If your partner is having a hard time reading their map, of course, help each other out. Now go find a partner and sit somewhere in the room - not under a table. Person 1 gets to share first and then Person 2 will get to share. Go."
My students were so respectful of each others' feelings and it didn't matter if a higher achieving student was paired with someone who needed more support. They did a fantastic job helping each other and we didn't have any fighting about who got to share first because we had established some rules ahead of time. You can see that my students did a good job with their maps and each map differed slightly. You can see some work samples here Student Work Flow Maps .
The whole point of the lesson was to have my students learn that a Flow Map is used to put events in the correct order. My closure was short, sweet, and to the point. I asked the students, "What do we use a Flow Map for?" "What events did we put in order?" Then I gave my students something to look forward to and I was quite silly so I could establish that good relationship with my students. I said, "We are going to be using flow maps a lot this year as we read many more stories. I don't know. Do you think you'll be able to handle it? " And of course they giggled and said, "Yeah we can!" My silliness can be quite motivating sometimes.
If after you've taught this lesson you decide that you like using Thinking Maps and you'd like more ideas how to incorporate them into your daily lessons, I have some resources for you here Examples of Thinking Maps, SBE Thinking Maps, Flow Map Examples,and here. I also have a video that shows you how you can save the Thinking Maps that I've already made and modify them so you can save time as you create more lessons. Just watch this video How to Save and Modify the Thinking Maps. Finally, I have a pdf that gives you examples of how you can use Thinking Maps in your reader response activities Reader Response With Thinking Maps.