Terrific Teaching Tool – Spiderscribe

Spiderscribe is an online brainstorming and mind mapping tool that students can use to record their ideas and engage in a number of higher order thinking activities.  There are a number of advantages to using Spiderscribe in the classroom:

  • It is very straightforward to use
  • Students have their own login so all mind maps are saved and can be edited at a later date.
  • Students can add text, images and documents to their mind maps
  • Mind maps can be shared publicly

This tool has many uses and is a great way for students to organise and record their thoughts, apply their knowledge and analyse their ideas.  In the example provided below, students completed a spiderscribe as the culminating activity in a JIGSAW on belief systems in Feudal Japan.


Basic instructions for the JIGSAW are set out below:


  • Break students into three expert groups. (Group 1 = SHINTO; Group 2 = BUDDHISM; Group 3 = CONFUCIANISM).  If the expert groups are too large, split each expert group into two.  Distribute source material to each expert group.
  • Expert groups spend 25 minutes reviewing the source material and deciding on the KEY ideas contained in their belief system.


  • Allocate jigsaw groups – each student within each expert group a letter from A-J (based on a class of 30 students).  Students now break off and find the others with the same letter.  You should get one ‘expert’ from each of the three belief systems in each jigsaw group.
  • Each expert then ‘teaches’ the core aspects of their belief system to their jigsaw group and while this is happening, the students record their findings in a spiderscribe.

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