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Thinking Maps

A Shared Visual Language For Learning

Give students an idea to think about, and they may learn for a day.

Teach students to think critically, and they will learn for a lifetime.

Thinking Maps®

Thinking Maps is a set of 8 visual patterns that correlate to specific cognitive processes. They are used across all grades and content areas to build the critical thinking, problem-solving, comprehension, and communication skills necessary for academic success in every domain.

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Maximize Learning for Every Student

Thinking Maps Work the Way the Brain Works

By tapping into the way the brain actually organizes information, we can:

Improve retention, recall and understanding.

Build fluency with higher-order thinking skills.

Accelerate learning for students of all backgrounds and abilities.

Enable teachers to focus on rich content in the classroom.

Thinking Maps schools are 2.0x more likely to surpass average district growth in reading and 2.7x more likely to surpass average district growth rates in math.

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Getting Started with Thinking Maps

Thinking Maps is a whole-school learning methodology that is used across all grades and content areas. It all starts with a strategic professional development plan to introduce Thinking Maps to your teachers and help them grow their Thinking Maps practice over time.

  • Aligned with Learning Forward’s best practices in professional development
  • Virtual or in-person training and “train-the-trainer” certification
  • Ongoing coaching and support
  • Online courses and resources in the Thinking Maps Learning Community (TMLC)
  • Advanced training for Leadership, Writing, and English Learners


Teachers working together in a classroom

Smiling teacher in classroom


Thinking Maps Learning Community

The Thinking Maps Learning Community (TMLC) is a vital part of your Thinking Maps implementation and your online hub for Map creation, professional learning, planning and inspiration. We created TMLC to maximize student learning, improve teacher productivity and support professional learning communities.

Online Map Builder (Teachers & Students)

A web-based program that allows users to create Maps, lessons and assessments while enhancing writing skills.

Exercise & Assignment Management Tools

Monitor progress towards school and district learning goals and develop your Thinking Maps Plan of Action.

Professional Learning Courses & Resources

An expansive collection of 23 video-based Professional Development modules for anytime, anywhere learning.

Online Map Gallery (Exemplar Maps)

An ever-growing collection showcasing professionally vetted Maps across grade levels and subject areas.


Access our Thinking Maps Learning Community!

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Investing in Teachers for Greater Student Success

Cypress Elementary

At Cypress Elementary School, students with diverse backgrounds and learning needs are maximizing their potential with Thinking Maps. This “visual language for learning” allows every student to be successful and make progress toward learning standards. Students are...

View Our Webinars

Building a Deep Structure for Reading Comprehension

April 25, 2024 • 3:30PM ET

Reading comprehension is a critical foundation for success across all content areas—but many students struggle to extract meaning from complex content. Find out why reading comprehension is so difficult and what teachers can do to help students reduce the barriers to...

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Thinking Like a Scientist: Thinking Maps for STEM

April 15, 2024

Scientific thinking empowers students to ask good questions about the world around them, become flexible and adaptable problem solvers, and engage in effective decision making in a variety of domains. Thinking Maps can help teachers nurture a scientific mindset in stude...


Advanced Training Options

Your initial Thinking Maps Training is just the beginning of your journey!
We offer advanced courses to build the capacity of your staff and maximize the impact of Thinking Maps.

Leadership Training

Build a data-driven strategic plan to meet the needs of your teachers and students.

Write from the Beginning...and Beyond

Improve writing across the curriculum with brain-based strategies for all writing genres.

Path to Proficiency

Meet the needs of English Learners (ELs) and students with language-based learning challenges.