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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Word clusters/Maps and mind mapping

Word clusters/maps (semantic mindmaps) are a form of mind mapping.

Relationships between words can be illustrated through word maps. Create word maps by writing the focus word in a central circle and then asking the students to brainstorm related words. Link these brainstormed words to the focus word as in an elementary mind map. This is best completed in pairs or small groups to increase the students’ use of English. The word maps could be:

  • words with similar meanings to that of the focus word;
  • words from the same word family;
  • words that relate to the same topic or theme;
  • different meanings of the focus word – introduce another meaning of a word only when the most frequently used meaning is well understood by students, otherwise they will get confused.

Word maps help students to make connections between their prior knowledge and the new words. They show conceptual relationships between words. By showing these relationships students can modify their existing framework of knowledge (schema) and more effectively construct meaning when they meet the words in the text.

Watch these short videos to see word clusters/maps and mind mapping being used in the classroom

Year 9 English

Year 12 English

Teaching and learning sequence planning examples:

Primary level:

Secondary level:

Published on: 19 Jan 2018