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How to Introduce Textmapping to Your Science Students

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In my last post I talked about what textmapping is, why you should try it with your classes, and what the benefits are. Today I’ll be discussing how to introduce textmapping to your classes step by step! You’ll also be able to download a free Text Mapping Lesson Guide. Here’s a video of very basic textmapping if you’d like to see it in action.

Introduce Textmapping By Modeling 

If your students have never tried textmapping before, the first step is to model it with the whole class. It’s helpful if your students are already familiar with text features. If they need a refresher or basic introduction to text features, I’ve put together a free chart that you can print out and copy for your students. Perfect to keep in an interactive notebook or binder!

  1. Make your scroll and tape or tack it somewhere where everyone can see it. Students don’t have to be able to READ the words at this point, they just need to be able to see the features you’re marking. 

You can also choose to have your students come and stand around the scroll while watching and listening.

  1. Start by explaining that the scroll is a visual representation of the text and how it can aid them in understanding and finding information. 
  1. Ask students to identify any text features that they can. As they do this, use your markers or highlighters to mark the scroll. Use the same colors that you will have them use. Talk about what you’re doing and why.
  1. While you’re marking the scroll, be animated! Move up and down its length, point at or poke subheadings, slap the images (just for emphasis … don’t hurt yourself!) and just generally use kinesthetics to show what you’re doing.
  2. Once you’ve mapped the scroll, point out how much easier it is to find information. Ask a question that can be answered in the text and point out how circling the chunks of text that go with each subheading makes it much easier to find. They don’t have to read or scan the whole text to find information. Show how captions give information about the pictures and diagrams.

6. Now you can let them loose to map their own scrolls. Making the scrolls themselves will immediately let them see how the information flows from page to page. It looks very different this way than it does when they’re only seeing 2 page in a text or magazine. 

7. Make sure each student or group has a mapping guide and the correct markers or highlighters for marking. At this point it’s easiest if everyone is using the same colors to mark the same features. This makes it easier to compare their maps later. As they develop more skill, you can basically let them map on their own by using their own colors and mapping system.

8.  When they’ve finished their mapping, give them some questions to answer about the text. Make sure there are a variety of questions that can be answered using many different text features, such as images, charts, or diagram. While they’re working, circulate and ask students to show you where they found the information and how they knew it was relevant. Stress the connection between the text and their comprehension, emphasizing how much easier it is to find information with the text mapped.

Moving Forward

I’ve created a free Textmapping Lesson Guide if you’d like to try this out.

There are directions for the teacher to introduce textmapping as well as a checklist for your students to guide them during the textmapping process and some general comprehension questions.

The more students practice this technique the easier it will become. Use it as much as possible for articles, chapter sections, and review materials. 

I also give “scroll quizzes.” I don’t tell students beforehand, but once they’ve finished mapping I sometimes give a quiz that they answer by using the scroll. The questions would focus not only on the actual text content but also the text features they marked. 

If you try introducing textmapping with your students, we’d love to hear how it goes!

Hello! Welcome to my little slice of the Internet!

I’m Debbie … retired teacher, curriculum writer, nature-lover, and bibliophile. I love planners, both paper and digital … planning is my “me”time! I live in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State with my husband and our 3 furbabies. That’s me in the picture above with our two horses, Clifford and Shy … they are in addition to our other 3 pets.

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