Semantic mapping helps build understanding of vocabulary by placing words with visual images (Miller & Veatch,2011). Lines and various geometric shapes are used to create a "map" and connections. What makes semantic mapping so great is that there are numerous variations and examples that can be used. The ultimate benefit of mapping is that it helps students build a multidimensional meaning of a word.
There are several steps to follow in creating a semantic map:
1) Choose a term that is central to the context, place that term in the middle of a page.
2) Define the term for students. If the definition is in the text have students search for it.
3) Explain to students the difference between the word and other similar words. "What is it like?"
4) As a class, come up with examples by adding words, descriptions, and images.
5) Students then complete their maps on their own with teacher guidance.
One variation of a semantic map that has been proven to be useful and effective is the Frayer Method or Model. One of the biggest differences in the Frayer Method in comparison to a general semantic map is that students list non-examples to the definition (Frayer, Frederick, & Klausmeier, 1969). Below is a more detailed description of the method.
Here are five resources teachers can use for more information, instructions, and variations of the semantic mapping vocabulary strategy:
1) Reading Rockets - http://www.readingrockets.org/article/connecting-word-meanings-through-semantic-mapping
2) Visual Thesaurus - https://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/booknook/using-semantic-maps-to-develop-word-meaning/
3) Semantic Maps Handouts - https://pcsd.wikispaces.com/file/view/2.2_SemanticMapping.pdf
4) Power Up What Works - http://powerupwhatworks.org/strategy-guide/semantic-mapping
5) Reading Resources - http://www.sedl.org/cgi-bin/mysql/framework1.cgi?andor=and&element=semantics&sortby=element&source