children pointing on map

Build Background Knowledge and Increase Comprehension

Before reading Urow & Beeman's Teaching for Biliteracy, I used concepts maps to access prior knowledge.  Now I use them to enhance comprehension while reading and to reinforce vocabulary.  I like to copy these resources for students and model using them during mini-lessons with the whole group or in my small guided groups. (Copy them on 11’ x 17’ paper. If you don't have it at school. Get it, it fits in most copiers and saves you so much time and increases student engagement and understanding by being able to model how to use the graphic organizers.

Regardless of which map you use, the key is to select a concept that is essential to understanding the text and present it after the students have had a concrete experience with the idea.  This will make your discussion rich, and students will make connections that make the ideas stick!

Downloadable Resources:

  • Mapa Conceptual
  • Mapa Conceptual II

Another resource that's great for finding many different kinds of printable graphic organizers in Spanish is Education Place.


What do you do to increase your students' understanding of "big ideas?"

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