Introduction to the Brace Map

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SWBAT write about whole to part relationships using a Brace Map.

Big Idea

In this lesson students will learn how to use a Brace Map by taking familiar objects (the whole) and breaking those things down into its parts.

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

     I love using the Brace Map because it is an essential tool that helps me to show my students whole to part relationships.  I use the Brace Map all the time in the English Language Arts classroom.  I need to teach my students how to use the brace map because this tool will help my students reach several Common Core standards this year. For example, this year we will use the Brace Map to break a word into the base word and suffix.  This addresses standard L1.4c.  We will also break a contraction up into the two word that make it.  This addresses standard L2.2c. We will also use the map to break a compound word up into the two words that make it up, thus addressing standard L2.4d. We will also be using the map to break a word up into its prefix and base word, addressing standard L2.4b.  Finally, we will be using our Brace Map in order to describe and visualize story elements in the stories we read later this year.  As we read our stories, we can read the text and write down the elements that the text tells us about the setting, breaking it down using our Brace Map.  This will help us visualize the story better.  This addresses RL1.3.  I actually have a great resource here Reader Response With Thinking Maps that I found online to show you how you can use Thinking Maps in reader response activities.

     In today's lesson we are going to be focusing on taking familiar objects and places and breaking them down from whole to part.  As we teach the language curriculum later in the year we will use the Brace for those concepts.  For today's lesson you will need either the Smartboard Introducing Thinking Maps.notebook or Activboard Introducing Thinking Maps lesson depending on which type of board you have.  You will also want to make enough copies of the student Brace Maps Student Copy Brace Map for both guided and independent practice. I staple them in a packet so they're easier for the students to manage.  For your convenience I've also made some answer keys that you can refer to Brace Map Answer Keys when going through guided practice with your students.

Modeling / Guided Practice (We Do)

30 minutes

     I kept my students at their seat this time because I wanted them to practice on their maps during our guided practice time. I said, "Today we are going to learn about the Brace Map.  A Brace Map is used when we take a whole thing and break it up into parts.  We are going to practice 3 Brace Maps together and then you are going to do a Brace Map on your own."

     Then I passed out the Brace Maps so that students could write on their maps along with me.  Once the students had their maps I said, "OK, the first map we are going to do is break down our whole body down into parts. "  I showed the 3 main parts of our body and the students wrote along with me. Then we broke some of our parts such as our head and appendages down even further. 

     We continued on practicing our Brace Maps.  We broke down a whole pizza into the parts its made of and then we also broke down our school into its parts.  For the sake of not being too wordy in this section, I have a video here that explains more in detail how to break these things down using the map.  Just watch this here Brace Map Explanations and Answers.

Independent Practice

20 minutes

     As I've mentioned in my reflection, I didn't really have an independent practice section the first time I taught this lesson.  I can share with you what I will say next time which is, "OK.  Turn to the last page in your packet.  Now its your turn to use a Brace Map on your own.  Your job is to think about your whole house, then break it down into the three main parts, then break those parts down even further."

     The goal of the lesson is to have students getting used to seeing a whole and breaking it down into its parts.  It doesn't really matter if a student has more than 3 main parts in their home.  I made the template with 3 parts because I thought it was manageable for students for this lesson.

     The next time I teach this lesson I will walk around the classroom supporting students.  I know I will have students who might get confused or not know what to put on their papers, so I will use questioning strategies.  For example, if a student writes "bedroom" as one of their major parts of their house and then gets stuck, I will ask, "What do you have in your room? Is there a special area for your toys?  What about your books?" I can plan for certain things, but I know I need to wait and see what difficulties the students are having and then help them accordingly.


5 minutes

     To finish up the lesson I said, "Who can tell me what we use a Brace Map for?  What did we break apart today?" I also told them we would be using these more throughout the year so when we see them again we'll know exactly what to do.

     If after you've done this lesson with your students you decide you'd like to incorporate more Thinking Maps into your lessons, I have some resources for you here. If you'd like to give some information to your parents about Brace Maps, click here.  I also have resources for you here Examples of Thinking Maps and here Brace Map Examples.  Finally, I have a video for you here that will show you how to save or modify the maps I've made on the Smartboard lesson.  This way you want how to keep making new maps each time you create a new lesson for yourself.  You can see the video here How to Save and Modify the Thinking Maps.