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Thinking Maps®


A Shared Visual Language for Learning

Are you ready to accelerate learning across every class and grade level? Your Thinking Maps journey starts here, with the core Thinking Maps methodology, training and teacher materials.

Children learning in classroom

Case Studies & Testimonials

When everyone is using the same language, the students own the strategies. It becomes automatic for them. When they see a problem in front of them, they know how to reach for the right Map to work through their thinking.

Alexa Sorden, Founding Principal

Concourse Village Elementary

Thinking Maps has changed the culture of our school. There is more enthusiasm for learning, and students and teachers are having deeper dialogs in the classroom.

Anthony Pietrangeli, Principal

Kenilworth Elementary

Thinking Maps gave our kids continuity in academic language and thinking, from Kindergarten on up. Now we have more time to focus on content, because the kids already have that structure for learning

Michelina Edwards, 5th-grade Teacher

Patriot Elementary

Come prepared to learn! This information will not sit on a shelf in your classroom. You will be surprised at how much you want to implement what you've learned in your classroom. The Thinking Maps programs are what teaching and learning is all about!

Colleen C., Teacher

Thinking Maps Training has provided our students and staff with tools to help promote engagement and deeper levels of thinking. Each map strategically assists students in developing different literacy and problem solving skills and helps to organize and visually represent student thinking.

Justin W.

Woodridge School District #8

One of the things I loved about the Thinking Maps training is that you can literally get training one day and implement it in the classroom the next. That’s huge.

Jennifer Foor, Principal

Pace Brantley Preparatory

I’ve noticed a huge change in how our students talk about their learning using Thinking Maps. Even at the preschool level, they are able to explain their thinking and why they are using a particular Map. We didn’t see those kinds of conversations before.

Jane Moran, Executive Director

Lexington School for the Deaf

Thinking Maps are a great tool for collaboration, because they allow everyone to see your thinking at a glance. It’s just an easier way to organize information.

Vanessa Schnur, Principal

Cypress Elementary

Thinking Maps are really part of our whole culture, from the classroom to meetings at the district office. Our teachers and our kids use them every day, so the thinking strategies just become natural.

Stephanie Rhinehart, Principal, Santa Cruz Elementary

Maricopa Unified School District


About Thinking Maps

Thinking Maps is a whole-school, brain-based approach to teaching and learning designed to build foundational critical thinking, problem-solving, comprehension, and communication skills necessary for academic success. The Maps provide a shared visual “language for learning” for an entire school or district.

  • Thinking Maps are a set of eight visual patterns or icons that each represent a specific cognitive process.
  • Unlike graphic organizers, which are highly varied and inconsistent, the eight Thinking Maps are used consistently across all grades and content areas. This ensures that students develop automaticity with the major thought processes by using the Maps to engage the cognitive processes they represent.
  • As students build fluency with the Maps, they internalize these cognitive skills and learn how to become better learners, thinkers, and communicators.


The Building Blocks of Brain-Based Learning

Example Applications

Each of the eight Thinking Maps can be used in a variety of ways across all content areas. Here are two examples.

Double Bubble Map

Double Bubble Map

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Multi-Flow Map

Multi-Flow Map

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Accelerating Learning for Every Student

When used with fidelity, Thinking Maps produces greater than average gains in academic performance in just one to two years. Thinking Maps accelerates academic gains by:

Increasing student ownership of learning

Increasing academic equity by helping students of all backgrounds and ability levels maximize learning

Improving teacher capacity to serve students of all backgrounds

Read The Research

The Effects of Thinking Maps on Raising Student Achievement

Getting Started

Thinking Maps is not just another product or program. It is a whole-school teaching and learning methodology that supports everything else teachers do. The key to a successful implementation lies with the teacher. That’s why our focus is on building the capacity of teachers to use and apply the Maps in the classroom.

Thinking Maps uses a training model built around Learning Forward’s Standards for Professional Learning, including planning, initial training, follow-up training and ongoing support.

Training Options

Students collaborating around laptop

A Language for Learning (Cover)


Steps to a Successful Implementation

  1. Orientation for school leaders, including development of a plan for implementation
  2. Training for teacher leaders using the Training of Trainers materials
  3. Rollout to all teaching staff with A Language for Learning guides for each teacher
  4. Introduction of Thinking Maps to students in all classes
  5. Ongoing training and support through the Thinking Maps Learning Community (TMLC)

Plan Your Journey

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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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.

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