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When it comes to writing essays, some students feel at somewhat of a loss. It may be the first time they’ve had to write any kind of long form academic paper, so how would they go about it? Parents, if you’re like me then it’s been a while since you’ve had to do “homework” or write an essay. When my kids ask me to help them, I simply cringe…Not because I can’t write because, after all it’s my profession. But because teaching your child to write an essay while also helping them develop their own thoughts and process for doing so can be daunting. Everyone’s writing styles are different and I want my child to develop their own creative style.
Luckily, mind mapping can help them get all their ideas down on paper and form a workable essay plan before they go about writing the finished product. Here’s how to go about creating a mind map for just about any essay.
Mind mapping is a spontaneous activity, that creates a visual model for the person creating it. As they write, they naturally make links behind their ideas, and can see exactly how their arguments can link together into a cohesive piece. It’s great for visually minded students, as the branches of a mind map can show them exactly where to go in their essay.
Start with the five paragraph model
Before even setting pen to paper, the best way to start with a mind map is with the five paragraph essay model. This model goes as follows:
- Introduction: What the essay will be about
- First paragraph: One theory or idea
- Second paragraph: Second theory or idea, that links to the first
- Third paragraph: A follow up to the second paragraph, that starts to wrap ideas up
- Conclusion: A summing up of all major points in the essay, and any relevant findings
If a student has that in mind first, they have a structure to follow when thinking of ideas that will need to go in their essay.
Begin with the title
The first thing that will go down on the mind map is the essay title. For example, if the title is ‘How do academic writing skills translate to the job market?’, that sentence will go in the middle of the page. Then, main ideas will branch out from that one sentence.
Map out possible paragraphs
From the main sentence, the planner will then start writing down any overarching ideas that will need to be included. With the example above, some ideas that could be written down would be things like ‘time management’, ‘critical thinking’, and project completion’. Once the main ideas are down on paper, the planner will then probably think of what theorists or theories could tie into those ideas, to strengthen them in the essay. Once these are all written down, there will be several clear paths that the essay can go down.
Try using mapping tools
There are plenty of academic tools online that can help students write the best papers possible. These are a small sample of good tools that can help students mind map effectively.
- AcademAdvisor: This site gives more information on how the five paragraph essay, mentioned above, works. It goes into more detail about what goes in each paragraph, and how it all links together.
- Write My Essay: This service can help students plan out, write, and proofread their essays. It’s staffed by highly qualified writers with experience in the academic field, so their work and advice can be priceless to students who need help.
- WritingPopulist: This blog gives great practical advice on writing essays. It includes tips on using the correct punctuation and grammar, summing up essays to find the main point, and on getting help from peers to get the tone of the essay right.
- Studydemic: An online writing blog that revolves around providing you with information about all things relating to grammar.
- PaperFellows: An online writing agency that can help with any proofreading and editing tasks you may have, perfect for teaching your students the processes.
- Lets Go And Learn: An online blog full of writing guides for learning all about grammar, punctuation and spelling.
- Assignment Help & BestBritishEssays: An online writing guide service for all kinds of writing as featured by the Huffington Post.
- Cite It In: Students can use this site to get the correct citation for any source they use.
By using these tips, students can now try mind mapping their essays out, and find that they create a helpful visual map of their ideas when it comes to writing their ideas out.
Mary Walton is a blogger at Simple Grad, she is a mom of two wonderful boys aged 7 and 4. Mary works as a tutor at OXessays, and helps with content management at Australian Assignment Service. Find her on Twitter!
To see more, view all posts by Mary Walton here