Consequence Maps

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Dec 31, 2010

It is important that students are fully informed of the possible positive and negative consequences of their choices. They need all the information up front in order to make an informed decision. Consequence maps are a way to visually show students the connections between their choices and the consequences that may or will follow.

Consequence maps can be premade and laminated, drawn on a blank frame like the one shown in Figure 13.1 or drawn on the spot. Consequence maps can also be used as an excellent graphic organization for any type of problem solving by adding as many rows as there are possible solutions or options. When using a consequence map, the teacher sits down with a student and helps her identify a situation where she has been having difficulty—for example, "The teacher gives me an assignment I don't like." The teacher and student then map out the positive choice, the negative choice, and the natural and logical consequences that are likely to follow each. The positive choice should always be stressed and put on the top row of the map. We also recommend starting with the natural consequences ("I will be proud of myself," "I will get better grades") so that the internal reinforcement that we want to develop will be stressed. The student identifies which consequences she prefers and therefore the choice she needs to make to experience that consequence. (Reproducible 6 provides a template for the map.) An example basic consequence map is shown in Figure 13.2.

Consequence mapping can be used with all age and ability levels and with individual or groups of students. It can take the form of a simple if-then chart for preschoolers using visuals. (A blank if-then chart is shown in Figure 13.3, and Reproducible 7 provides a template.) The positive choice can be mounted on one side of poster board on a green background to indicate a good or "go" choice and the not-so-positive choice can be mounted on the other side on a red background to indicate a poor or "stop" choice. Teachers can then flip the chart to whichever side is needed to remind students of the consequences of their choices.

Consequence Maps

Consequence Maps

Consequence maps can also take the form of a more complex chart for older students that connects their choices with not only the possible consequences but also the perceptions of those around them. An example of this type of consequence map is shown in Figure 13.4.

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