Friday, November 2, 2012

3d: Using Assessment in Instruction with Silent Mind Maps

     I started by putting the main topic that we have been studying in class (in this case it was Transport) and  the main categories to get them started.

put the main ideas of the concept map on the board
Up at the board I placed 6 black expo dry erase markers like these:

     I wanted everyone to have the same color so the focus was on the content, not how pretty it looked. My students use the computers almost everyday so I told them that while their computer was starting up  I wanted them to work together and build a "Silent Mind Map" for the unit. They were not allowed to talk.  All of the communication must happen in the writing on the board. 
the beginning

     Even after they started working online they would look up and still come up to the board and add something, or erase and change something. It was really amazing to see them all work together.

     In my larger classes it was actually pretty funny that even though there were more students, fewer of them would get up and write on the board so I found an easy way to keep track. At the beginning of the year I bought these 2-sided frames at IKEA (my favorite store) (the best store on Earth). On the one side I have a family picture...

99 cent picture frame from IKEA link to IKEA to purchase frame
but on the other side I put the class list. The plexi-glass covering for the pictures allows you to use it as a dry-erase board. I just crossed off the kid's names as they came up to the board to add to our mind map. This way, I was able to know who didn't participate and I walked around suggesting that they add something and giving them suggestions if they needed one.
back of the picture frame (it holds 2 pictures!!)
     After they were all done, we had a short discussion at the end of the period 1-2 minutes about the mind map, and I suggested ways to organize it a little better and they also suggested improvements. I already use Evernote a LOT with my classes so I took a picture of each classes mind map and posted it on Evernote so they could access it while online. In the future I would like to teach my students about how to use Evernote.

     I was REALLY surprised with how well this works and how much my students liked it. I plan to use it with every unit. 
    Have you found a great technique that helps your students understand a unit?  Please share.

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1 comment:

  1. I used a version of your mind map exercise on Monday to welcome my students back after hurricane Sandy.

    Some kids had been without heat, power, water, hot food. Nevertheless, the lesson was a uniform success for several classes. I asked them to connect their personal observations and experiences during and after the storm to the Environmental Science topics in the map. And they went up to write with enthusiasm.

    Some ELLs and SpEds needed to dictate their ideas, but they were tickled when I added them to the map. It was clear to all of the students that their own factual observations, inferences and knowledge could and should be connected to academic content.

    Unlike so many other teachers' experiences that day, my classes never deteriorated into a "gripe session."

    Thanks so much for sharing this simple and powerful technique.