Every Thinking Map should have a frame around it. Some people think that the frame only goes around the circle map because the posters show only that one framed, but that is really an error in the posters. Last year, RuthMary drew frames around all of her posters to emphasize the point that EHS's first NUA consultant, Rick Olenchack, used to say, "It don't mean a thing if it don't have that frame."
The frame around the maps provides an extension of the thinking and helps the teacher understand the students frame of reference. Frames help bridge the culture gap because multiple backgrounds come across with references to personal and cultural experiences, values and belief systems. When a Thinking Map is done as a group activity, the frame can even be split into sections to indicate which portion came from which student. This emphasizes that each student brings a different frame of reference to the classroom activity.
Below is a tree map from Thinking Maps Inc., Training Manual on uses for frames of reference.