- Paragraph Types (Essay Seeds)
- Tutorial - Reason Paragraph
- Reason Paragraph
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- Cause-Effect Paragraph
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- Tutorial - Presuasive (Argument) Paragraph
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About this printout
Use this graphic organizer to develop an outline for an essay that includes an introductory statement, main ideas, supporting details, and a conclusion.
Teaching with this printout
More ideas to try, related resources.
Expository writing can be challenging for students, yet it is an important skill for them to develop and eventually master. Often, the most difficult aspects of writing an essay are getting started and maintaining an organized focus while drafting the essay. This Essay Map helps students with those challenges by providing them with an organized format that will help them generate and outline their ideas. When you introduce this graphic organizer to your students, model its use by creating an essay of a topic that is very familiar to students. Using a projector so students can watch, fill in the Essay Map as you brainstorm ideas. Then, show students how to use your completed Essay Map to generate a rough draft of an essay.
- If this is a new tool for your students, consider having them fill in the Essay Map on a relatively simple topic. Topic ideas such as “All About Me” or “My Favorite Movies” will help students successfully create an essay because of the high level of background knowledge on these topics. Give older students a more challenging first topic that requires some basic research about something or someone close to them. For example, have them interview an elderly family member to compare and contrast life as a teen today versus life as a teen in the past.
- Prior to assigning them independent work, have students work in small groups to fill in an Essay Map together. Peer interaction will help generate ideas and provide opportunities for discussing the use of the tool. As they work, circulate among groups to check for correct placement of main ideas and supporting details. If you see a detail that is incorrectly placed on the Essay Map, ask guiding questions to help students make adjustments, such as, “I see that you put this supporting detail with this main idea. Can you tell me why you think it would fit there? Is there a better place that you could place it?” When groups have completed their Essay Maps, discuss them, comparing and contrasting the choice and placement of main ideas and details.
- Use Essay Maps that were completed by students to create a class-generated essay. Begin by assigning a single topic to the class. Topics for younger or less advanced students might include, “A Description of Our School,” “Field Trip Ideas for Our Class,” and “Things to Do in Our Town/City.” Topics for older or advanced students can be generated from the content areas and might require research. Ask students to fill in the Essay Map either individually or in groups. After students have completed their Essay Maps, project a blank paper or digital document so that all students can view as you collaboratively create a class essay, working through each paragraph of the essay, soliciting suggestions from students’ Essay Maps, and explaining how the Essay Map serves as a guide in the creation of an essay.
- Strategy Guides
- Lesson Plans
This strategy guide explains the writing process and offers practical methods for applying it in your classroom to help students become proficient writers.
While drafting a literary analysis essay (or another type of argument) of their own, students work in pairs to investigate advice for writing conclusions and to analyze conclusions of sample essays. They then draft two conclusions for their essay, select one, and reflect on what they have learned through the process.
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How To Write an IELTS Map Essay
IELTS map questions are the easiest to answer. There are no numbers to analyse, just 2 or 3 maps to compare. Very occasionally, there might only be a single map, but this is rare.
The maps will be of the same location at different times. This could be in the past, the present time or a plan for a proposed development in the future. You are required to write about the changes you see between the maps.
There are 5 steps to writing a high-scoring IELTS map essay:
1) Analyse the question
2) Identify the main features
3) Write an introduction
4) Write an overview
5) Write the details paragraphs
I must emphasise the importance of steps 1 and 2. It is essential that you complete this planning stage properly before you start writing. You’ll understand why when I guide you through it. It should only take 5 minutes, leaving you a full 15 minute to write your essay.
In this lesson, we’re going to work through the 5 stages step-by-step as we answer a practice IELTS map question.
Before we begin, here’s a model essay structure that you can use as a guideline for all IELTS Academic Task 1 questions.
Ideally, your essay should have 4 paragraphs:
Paragraph 1 – Introduction
Paragraph 2 – Overview
Paragraph 3 – 1 st main feature
Paragraph 4 – 2 nd main feature
We now have everything we need to begin planning and writing our IELTS map essay.
Here’s our practice question:
The maps below show the village of Stokeford in 1930 and 2010.
Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.
Write at least 150 words.
Step 1 – Analyse the question
The format of every Academic Task 1 question is the same. Here is our practice question again with the words that will be included in all questions highlighted.
Every question consists of:
- Sentence 1 – A brief description of the graphic
- Sentence 2 – The instructions
- The graphic – map, chart, graph, table, etc.
Sentence 2 tells you what you have to do.
You must do 3 things:
1. Select the main features.
2. Write about the main features.
3. Compare the main features.
All three tasks refer to the ‘ main features ’ of the graphic. You do not have to write about everything. Just pick out 2 or 3 key features and you’ll have plenty to write about.
Step 2 – Identify the Main Features
All you are looking for are the main features. Start with the earliest map. Identify the key features and look to see how they have changed in the later map, and again in the final map if there are three.
Here are some useful questions to ask?
1) What time periods are shown?
Are the maps of past, present or future situations? This is important to note because it will determine whether you write your essay using past, present or future tenses.
The two maps in our practice IELTS map question show the village of Stokeford at two different times in the past. This immediately tells us that we will need to use the past tense in our essay.
2) What are the main differences between the maps?
What features have disappeared? What new features are in their place?
3) What features have remained the same over the time period?
Although the location on the maps will have undergone major development, some features may remain unchanged.
Also, think about directional language you can use, such as:
So, what information is contained our maps? Here they are again.
Source: IELTS past paper
There are a number of different features we could select such as, the loss of the shops, the disappearance of farmland, the enlargement of the school and the development of the large house into a retirement home.
Many maps will contain far more changes than our sample maps and the changes may be more complex. In such cases, you won’t have time to write about all of them and will need to select just 2 or 3 main features to focus on.
Our maps are quite simple so we’ll list all 4 of the major changes I’ve just identified.
Main feature 1: The farmland has been built on.
Main feature 2: The large house has been converted into a retirement home.
Main feature 3: The school has been enlarged.
Main feature 4: The shops have disappeared.
The key features you select will be the starting point for your IELTS map essay. You will then go on to add more detail later. However, with just 20 minutes allowed for Task 1, and a requirement of only 150 words, you won't be able to include many details.
We’re now ready to begin writing our essay. Here’s a reminder of the 4 part structure we’re going to use.
For this essay, we’ll adapt this a little to write about two of the features in Paragraph 3 and the other two features in Paragraph 4.
Step 3 – Write an Introduction
In the introduction, you should simply paraphrase the question, that is, say the same thing in a different way. You can do this by using synonyms and changing the sentence structure. For example:
Introduction (Paragraph 1):
The two maps illustrate how the village of Stokeford, situated on the east bank of the River Stoke, changed over an 80 year period from 1930 to 2010.
This is all you need to do for the introduction.
Step 4 – Write an Overview (Paragraph 2)
In the second paragraph, you should describe the general changes that have taken place. The detail comes later in the essay.
State the information simply. No elaborate vocabulary or grammar structures are required, just the appropriate words and correct verb tenses.
Overview (Paragraph 2):
There was considerable development of the settlement over these years and it was gradually transformed from a small rural village into a largely residential area.
Two sentences would be better than one for the second paragraph but we’ll be getting into the detail if we say more about these maps at this point, so we’ll leave the overview as one sentence.
Step 5 – Write the 1st Detail Paragraph
Paragraphs 3 and 4 of your IELTS map essay are where you include more detailed information. In paragraph 3, you should give evidence to support your first 1or 2 key features.
In the case of our main features, 1 and 3 are closely related so we’ll write about these two together.
Here they are again:
And this is an example of what you could write:
Paragraph 3 :
The most notable change is the presence of housing in 2010 on the areas that were farmland back in 1930. New roads were constructed on this land and many residential properties built. In response to the considerable increase in population, the primary school was extended to around double the size of the previous building.
Step 6 – Write the 2nd Detail Paragraph
For the fourth and final paragraph, you do the same thing for your remaining key features.
Here are the two we have left:
This is an example of what you could write:
Paragraph 4 :
Whilst the post office remained as a village amenity, the two shops that can be seen to the north-west of the school in 1930, no longer existed by 2010, having been replaced by houses. There also used to be an extensive property standing in its own large gardens situated to the south-east of the school. At some time between 1930 and 2010, this was extended and converted into a retirement home. This was another significant transformation for the village.
Here are the four paragraphs brought together to create our finished essay.
Finished IELTS Map Essay
This sample IELTS map essay is well over the minimum word limit so you can see that you don’t have space to include very much detail at all. That’s why it is essential to select just a couple of main features to write about.
Now use what you’ve learnt in this lesson to practice answering other IELTS map questions. Start slowly at first and keep practicing until you can plan and write a complete essay in around 20 minutes.
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Ielts academic writing task 1 – all lessons.
IELTS Academic Writing – A summary of the test including important facts, test format & assessment.
Academic Writing Task 1 – The format, the 7 question types & sample questions, assessment & marking criteria. All the key information you need to know.
Understanding Task 1 Questions – How to quickly and easily analyse and understand IELTS Writing Task 2 questions.
How To Plan a Task 1 Essay – Discover 3 reasons why you must plan, the 4 simple steps of essay planning and learn a simple 4 part essay structure.
Vocabulary for Task 1 Essays – Learn key vocabulary for a high-scoring essay. Word lists & a downloadable PDF.
Grammar for Task 1 Essays – Essential grammar for Task 1 Academic essays including, verb tenses, key sentence structures, articles & prepositions.
The 7 Question Types:
Click the links below for a step-by-step lesson on each type of Task 1 question.
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Mind Maps for Essay Writing: A Comprehensive Guide with Examples and Tips
5 minutes read
Mastering essay writing is an essential skill for academic success. One valuable tool to enhance this skill is mind mapping, a dynamic and visual approach to organize thoughts. This article will guide you through the benefits, creation process, practical examples, and expert tips for effective mind mapping.
Understanding Mind Maps: Definition and Benefits
A Mind Map is a powerful graphic technique which provides a universal key to unlock the potential of the brain. It harnesses the full range of cortical skills – word, image, number, logic, rhythm, colour and spatial awareness – in a single, uniquely powerful manner.
Utilizing mind maps in essay writing offers several benefits. Not only does it provide a visually engaging way to organize ideas, but it also enhances understanding and memory recall. The science behind this phenomenon lies in the way our brain works. By representing information spatially and with images and color, mind mapping stimulates the brain in a much more rich and varied way than traditional note taking.
How to Create a Mind Map for an Essay
Mind mapping is an easy process which can be mastered with practice. Here's a step-by-step guide:
- Start in the center : Write your main idea or essay prompt in the center of the page and draw a circle around it.
- Branch out : From your central idea, draw lines out towards the edges of your page representing main thoughts or ideas related to your topic. At the end of each line, write a single word or phrase that summarizes the point, then draw a circle around that word or phrase.
- Add details : Draw smaller lines branching off from each main idea line that represent supporting details. At the end of these lines, write a brief detail or example and circle it.
- Colour your thoughts : Add colours to your different ideas to highlight them. Use pictures or symbols wherever applicable.
Essential tools for mind mapping range from simple pen and paper to advanced mind mapping software like Boardmix or EdrawMind.
How to Use Mind Maps for Effective Essay Writing
Mastering the use of mind maps for essay writing entails three primary steps – identifying an apt essay topic, kickstarting the research process, and finally, outlining your essay within a mind map. Here's a detailed exploration of these stages:
Step 1: Using a Mind Map to Find a Good Topic for Your Essay
Selecting an engaging and manageable topic forms the bedrock of an impactful essay. Mind mapping can be instrumental in this process by helping to generate and connect ideas creatively and logically.
Brainstorming Topic Ideas with a Mind Map
To brainstorm topics, start by jotting down a general area of interest at the center of your mind map. Let's say, "Climate Change." Now, let your mind flow freely and create branches from this central node, each representing a different aspect or question related to Climate Change - "Causes," "Effects," "Solutions," "Controversies," etc. From these primary branches, draw secondary branches for further thoughts, arguments, or subtopics. After creating this mind map, assess the feasibility and interest level of each potential essay topic, and choose the one that resonates the most with you.
Step 2: Start the Research Process
Once you've chosen your topic, it's time to delve into research. A well-researched essay strengthens your arguments and adds credibility to your work.
Collecting Research in a Mind Map
Begin by creating a new mind map with your chosen topic at the center. As you start reading relevant resources - books, articles, or websites - extract key points and note them as branches on your mind map. For instance, under the "Causes" branch for Climate Change, you could add sub-branches like "Industrialization," "Deforestation," or "Carbon Emissions." Under each of these, note relevant data or quotations from your sources. This approach helps to visualize how various bits of information relate to each other and makes it easier to structure your essay later.
Step 3: Outlining Essay Paper in a Mind Map
Having gathered adequate research material, it's time to structure it coherently through an essay outline. Creating this outline within a mind map ensures that no crucial point is overlooked and allows you to visualize the logical flow of your essay.
From your research mind map, create another one specifically for your essay outline. The central node should be your essay title or thesis statement. Create major branches for each key argument or point you plan to discuss. Attach supporting evidence, examples or sub-arguments as sub-branches. Under each major branch, ensure that there is a claim or unique viewpoint that you will defend or explain in your essay.
In essence, this mind map will act as the skeleton of your essay, providing a clear roadmap for your writing process.
5 Examples of Mind Maps for Essay Writing
Analyzing examples of mind maps for essay writing can provide a better understanding of how this powerful brainstorming tool works. Here are five detailed examples that demonstrate different ways to utilize mind mapping in academic writing.
Example 1: Argumentative Essay Mind Map
Let's consider a mind map developed for an argumentative essay about "Climate Change". The central node, in this case, states "Climate Change". From this central idea, branches emerge that represent the main arguments for the essay. One branch could say "Evidence of Climate Change," with sub-branches exploring different scientific studies that support climate change. Another branch might state "Effects of Climate Change," delving into the impact on polar ice caps, rising sea levels, and wildlife extinction. A third branch may argue "Solutions to Climate Change," examining renewable energy sources, deforestation reduction, and government policies. Each branch further divides into smaller branches providing details, examples, or counterarguments.
Example 2: Descriptive Essay Mind Map
Now, imagine a descriptive essay about "A Winter Morning". The central node would depict the essay's main theme. Major branches could represent sensory details, such as sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. For instance, the sight branch might have sub-branches like "white snow," "gray skies," or "bare trees." Each of these would break down into more detailed descriptions.
Example 3: Compare and Contrast Essay Mind Map
In a compare and contrast essay on "Traditional Classrooms vs. Online Learning," each of these educational modes could form a major branch from the central node. Sub-branches would then depict aspects for comparison, such as learning flexibility, student-teacher interaction, technology usage, assessment methods, etc. Each of these sub-branches would further branch out into specific points for both traditional classrooms and online learning environments.
Example 4: Cause and Effect Essay Mind Map
For a cause and effect essay on "Smoking", one major branch might represent "Causes of Smoking" such as peer pressure, stress, and advertising influence. Another major branch could depict the "Effects of Smoking," branching out into health impacts (lung cancer, heart disease), financial costs, and societal effects. Each point could further elaborate through additional branches.
Example 5: Narrative Essay Mind Map
A narrative essay on "My First Camping Trip" would involve major branches for each key event in the story's progression - setting up camp, exploring the forest, facing a wildlife encounter, handling a campfire accident. Sub-branches off these main events would provide specific details and dialogue to enrich the narrative.
Some Tips and Tricks for Effective Mind Mapping
For effective mind mapping, follow these tips:
- Be creative and make your map vibrant.
- Use single words or simple phrases for information brevity.
- Keep your mind map clear by using radial hierarchy or outlines to embrace your branches.
- Review regularly to reinforce memory.
While creating a mind map, avoid cluttering information on one branch. Use balance across your mind map while distributing information.
Reinventing Essay Writing with Mind Maps
Mind mapping, when mastered, can be a game-changer in your academic writing. It helps organise thoughts, enhances memory and understanding, and can make the essay writing process smoother and more efficient.
Through this guide, you've learned the benefits of mind mapping, how to create a mind map, seen some examples, got expert tips, and learned how to incorporate it into your essay writing process. Now it's time to put this knowledge into practice and start revolutionizing your essay writing with mind maps!
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Visual Essay Map and Writing Framework
This template provides a simple-to-follow, effective means for structured pre-writing and essay composition. It employs a visual mapping framework in Miro for (1 - pre-writing) decomposing the writing prompt and brainstorming ideas as a basis for outlining. (2 - composition).
A second map expounds upon the pre-writing content in an organized structure to enable drafting elements of a cohesive written essay.
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