Want to increase brain activity in your students, encourage active comprehension and step-up dynamic discussions in the classroom? It all can be done with one simple activity of concept mapping.
Today’s idea uses the software Inspiration 8 (installed on all teacher machines on campus) and your projector. The document camera can also be incorporated as student’s share the maps they have created.
Why use Inspiration?
- It’s easy and already loaded on all teacher machines on campus.
- Inspiration provides pre-made templates to get the concept map going for the big screen (choose New – From Template to see the options)
- Keeps the map organized and easy to read for the class.
- Circles can be changed to clip art for more of a visual impact.
- Brainstorming is easy with the lightening bolt icon.
- Maps and ideas can be easily rearranged without starting over.
- Finished products can be saved as Word files and placed online for those who missed the class.
Ideas on How to Use Concept Mapping in the Classroom:
As a reading strategy:
1. Pre-reading: have students brainstorm what they know about the items listed on the skelton concept map. Add those ideas in and have students record on their own papers.
2. During Reading – Students then read the assigned passage and add in more details as they learn them.
3. Post reading – Compare maps with the class and add in details students might have missed. (Use the document camera to show student’s original maps.)
- Sub-topics can be recorded on note-cards and students can add in more details about that topic as they read/learn more
- Cards can then be turned into a paragraphs within a research paper.
- Each sub-topic could become a research topic for the class.
As a note-taking strategy:
- Give students a partially filled concept map and have them add to it as you discuss, research, etc. the topic given.
- Have students create their own map of the story/event with main characters/main events in ech sub-circle and details surrounding from there.
Download a how-to guide for Inspiration 8: How to Use Inspiration 8
Documentation and research on using concept mapping in the classroom is based from “Classroom Instruction that Works” by Robert Marzano and Project Criss.