There is no "right" way to do model mapping, and this means children are happier to take risks. The main type used by Ian, Oliver and Bill (see article, above) ends up looking like brain synapses. They represent knowledge as a structure. You start with the main theme, then have categories radiating out, with subcategories or other links radiating from those.
Supermarkets, for instance, would have categories of meat, vegetables and cleaning products. Sub-categories of meat could be chicken, beef, lamb.
Then chicken could include drumsticks, fillets, whole. Then, cooked, raw and ready meals.
Former Year 6 teacher Jo Grail, now a head, found the ability to map did not relate to children's academic ability - an immediate boost for those who saw themselves as non-achievers. Children could see how concepts linked together.
"At the end of each session, we added new information learned. This then became the starting point for the next session when we brought our existing knowledge to the front of our brains by using the visual prompt."
Children planned their writing with independence, and suddenly had little difficulty with paragraphing.
"It's easy when you don't have to write and think at the same time," said a 10-year-old in her class.