Friday, February 10, 2012

Animal Characterics and Brace Maps

I did a lesson this week for a teacher who wanted to see how I create brace maps with my students. Since they were learning about pets, I decided to focus the lesson on animal characteristics. I read the book Arthur's Pet Business since it shows all types of animals, their needs, and their characteristics. As I read, I led the students in mini discussions on the different ways pets move, their coverings, their body parts, and their needs.
 Since Arthur wanted a puppy, I decided to use a dog for our brace map. As brainstormed the main outward parts of a dog, I focused our discussion on why each of those parts were important and how they connected to the dog's characteristics. If you are not familiar with brace maps, they are a type of Thinking Map that shows the parts of something.

Here is the brace map we created. I started with the whole dog already made and on the map. Students recalled the parts of the dog we had talked about, we reviewed characteristics of that part and why it is important to the dog and then added it to the map. After we had all of the parts added, we went back and labeled the parts using interactive writing. If I need to save time, I print out the labels in advance so we only have to add them.
Sometimes, I have students create miniature versions of our large class brace map, but since I did not have a lot of time in this classroom, I created a sheet where students could label a dog instead.

Here is an example of when I have had students create their own brace maps.
Here are the signs I used to display with the brace map after it is posted and the dog labeling page. To make the dog on the large brace map, I just clipped corners and rounded rectangles.


laughinbrunette (Jennifer) said...

Love brace maps!! Great share!
First Grade Blue Skies

Lori said...

Thank you for sharing these brace maps! Love those!
Conversations in Literacy

Lisa Howard said...

so cool!

- Lisa
A Teachers Bag of Tricks
**I'm having a giveaway**

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the brace map inspiration. I'm into non-fiction and animals also. We always culminate with a write our own animal book and include the text features we've learned. Each child will research their own animal. These make great diagrams. We also loved your Animals in Winter Readers Theatre as we began this unit.

Lisa Lizak and Beth Wright said...

I LOVE Thinking Maps too! Your dog brace map is so cute :) Thanks for sharing!

Lisa :)
Made In The Shade In Second Grade

Mary said...

Thanks for sharing. Your button was coming up on my compter as an x. I wanted to add it to my new tab on blogs I follow. THought you would want to know.

Mrs. Larremore said...


I think something may have been wrong with everything yesterday because I received a couple of messages. I have checked the button and everything out this morning and it seems fine. Try again and let me know if you still have problems. Make sure you get every character of code when you copy and paste. Sometimes it is hard for me to get it all on buttons when I scroll down inside the box.

Chrissy said...

Great ideas! Do you use thinking maps on their own, or with Write From the Beginning?

TammySF. said...

These are such great ideas!! I love reading your blog:)

Ms. Schepp said...

I love incorporating literacy, especially Arthur :)

I am obsessed with your blog! Great job!

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Kristin said...

Hi Mrs. Larremore,
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Mrs. Larremore said...

Thanks for sharing. I will check it out and add it to my blog roll.

Mrs. Larremore said...


We use WFTB in my district, but I mostly use thinking maps on their own. They are up and students can pull words and thoughts from them, but I do not use them strictly for writing like in the first grade curriculum.