A spider map is a brainstorming or organizational tool that provides a visual framework for students to use. Sometimes, this graphic organizer is called a “concept map” or a “spider web graphic organizer”. A spider map has a main idea or topic in the center, or the body, of the diagram. Each detail or sub-topic associated with the main idea has its own leg, or branch, surrounding the main idea.
The title in the center of the spider map is the central topic, person, or vocabulary word. The map then branches out into separate cells to show details or examples of the topic. Having the main topic in the center and the ideas surrounding it reduces the temptation to give greater importance to particular details. The legs of the spider map are all treated equally!
The spider map concept and the storyboard format are a great combination that allow for a multi-disciplinary approach. It is a true enhancement to any classroom!
The basic premise of spider mapping is to familiarize students with a topic at a basic level. Elementary students, fora example, still have narrow scope of knowledge on many topics. Using a spider map with this age group encourages a deeper, more thought-provoking exploration about something they may not know much about.
Spider maps give the students a way to record and organize their ideas. In a spider map, the details are surrounding the central topic in a branch-like format. This naturally eliminates the hierarchy that a linear outline may portray.
Spider mapping can be used by all ages. It is most commonly used in the elementary grades, but middle school, high school, or even college students can benefit from using spider maps. They are a great way for older students to organize information. Often, students will start brainstorming and realize they know more, or less, than they originally thought.
Since the spider map does not give priority to specific information, it is an ideal graphic organizer to show competing forces or concurrent events. A favorite spider map activity is the 5 Ws that asks the questions "who, what, where, when, and why?" on a topic or event. Students can share a wealth of information in a simple, clear fashion.
Learning associations or vocabulary in groups while studying a new language can greatly enhance language acquisition and reinforcement. Use a spider map to show related items for a greater understanding of the whole concept or unit. In addition, any activity that can be used for ELA can be used in more advanced foreign language literature classes.
For more ideas on how to use storyboards in your classroom, look through some of our teacher guides for activities, template storyboards, and more!
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Storyboard That is a fun tool for everyone in the classroom, but may be particularly useful for students on IEPs and 504 plans. Graphic organizers serve as a way to structure or guide a student's thinking. The spider map makes brainstorming easy and engaging!
Storyboard That allows the creators to incorporate pictures, colors, and text into their graphic organizers; not all students have stellar handwriting or drawing abilities. Incorporating a storyboard-style format into digital storytelling allows handwriting abilities and drawing talents to become irrelevant. All students end up with a graphic organizer they can look back on later and still be able to understand it.
Educators can use Storyboard That to create their own customized digital assignments or print-outs. Here are a few additional ideas on when to use a spider map storyboard for special education:
For more ideas on integrating storyboards in special education, please see our other articles related to special education.
Check out the rest of our Teacher Guides and Lesson Plans!