Notetaking Strategies (Part 4) Mind-mapping

Mind mapping

This type of notetaking has been expanded to mean many things.  In this case we are focusing on using it for notes. It is strong and memorable strategy but takes time to become good at it.  Tony Buzan developed mind maps and you can go to this link to check him out.  There are resources and samples to see.  Here are my thoughts on it and my way of teaching it. The main point is to use pictures and key words for helping you remember concepts.  A mind map is made for each concept a student is learning or exploring but that concept can have subtopics within it.  If the concept changes completely, this is a new mind map. 

Here are the steps:

1. Gather a variety of colors of markers, crayons or colored pens or pencils.

2. Start in the center of a blank sheet of paper, preferably one without lines. Provide the main idea in the middle.  This can be a word or picture or a combination of a picture with a word.

2. Work outward from the main topic.  You would draw a line to a new subtopic out from the main idea.  . Continue that line with divisions or splits in the same color as long as the topic remains under that same subtopic.  Keep to images or key words only.  

3. Each time there is a new subtopic, it begins a new line from the main topic and you follow the same instructions as for step 2.  The lines for each subtopic should be color coded to make them easy to follow.

Some important things to keep in mind are that mind maps are meant to be quick reference and visual.  A mind map will stick to this list of ideas:


Key Words



Visual Memory-key words, use color, symbols, icons, arrows and grouping of words.

Note:  This strategy needs a great deal of modeling and working with the student to improve their mind mapping abilities along the way. 

There are many computerized programs out there to assist in creating mind maps.  Personally I am a bit old fashioned when it comes to note-taking mind maps because finding the computer picture to fit the note sometimes just takes too much time.


1 Response to “Notetaking Strategies (Part 4) Mind-mapping”

  1. 1 Hilery Williams October 16, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Incidentally, I prefer the term Note Making to Taking as it means the students are not just passively reiterating what the teacher or text says but are creating their own meaning.
    Using technology may not be our preferred way of working but it does not reflect the reality of most young people’s experiences!
    Most have no difficulty uploading images from the web. It is our job to ensure they use web tools safely and courteously, not to pretend they don’t exist.
    I find using a great tool for identifying key words and phrases.

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