The impact of thinking maps on elementary students' expository texts

Many students struggle with structuring their writing in composing expository texts. This dissertation examined the scaffolding strategies inherent in the Thinking Maps program to see if students’ compositions were more organized if they used a Thinking Map in responding to a writing prompt. The participants were 71 students in three fourth grade classes in the South Bay School District. Two of the classes were experimental in that the teachers helped students create and use Thinking Maps in addressing two writing prompts. The other class was a Control Class because Thinking Maps were not used with students. The results were Thinking Maps did not have a statistically significant impact on students’ writing. However, English Language Learners (ELLs) in the Experimental Classes appeared to realize a slight benefit in using TMs compared to the non-ELL students in the Control Class. Although the evidence is weak, students appear to benefit from using Thinking Maps.