Mind Maps


An activity I like to use with just about any age group - kindergarten to college students - is Mind Maps.  A Mind Maps is a graphic representation of a student's understanding of a specific topic.  Mind Maps always include text, color and images - as the mind experiences things multi-sensorially.

Above and below you can see my college students' maps on special education topics.  Any topic under the sun (and including the sun) and be made into a Mind Map.  There is so much mileage with this activity, which is probably why it is so effective for learning.


I usually create my own map first and share it with students - that way they get a sense of what a Mind  Map is and looks like.  Then, I set them free with supplies - plain paper, crayons, markers, and/or colored pencils.  Always, like magic, students are thoroughly engaged while creating their maps.  It is what I call the Mind Map hum.  Students rarely converse, but instead get right down to business creating their maps; I have never had a student be unengaged.  Never (knock on wood).

For added bonus, I sometimes have students give each other feedback on their maps using a feedback tool like these.

How about this?  If you create Mind Maps with your students, could you post a photo to our Facebook page?  Then, we all can ooh and ahh over them.  Of course. be sure to ask your students' permission first.  My college students are an agreeable bunch!

Cheers,
Jen


9 comments:

  1. Posted that one on Twitter. Always a great connection to 21st century skills (Critical Thinking and Analysis). Add a Collaboration layer when students discuss their maps and ask someone else what they would add? It offers the opportunity to gain insight from others. Well done, Jen.

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    1. I love the collaboration piece, too. So much mileage with Mind Maps.....

      Thanks for commenting, SC.

      Jen

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  2. Mind maps seem like an awesome idea, I have never heard of them before. How are they different than traditional thinking maps?

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    1. Carrie - Mind Maps tend to incorporate more doodles and colors - different from Thinking Maps. Thinking Maps usually fall within the set templates, whereas Mind Maps don't - they are formed by your mind - each not following a specific template or pattern.

      What do you think?

      Jen

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  3. Seems much more my style than the plain sometimes boring thinking maps :)

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    1. I concur. Thinking maps have their place, but you can't beat the color, doodles and text combo - plus, the free organic form - of a mind map.

      Of course, I am all about options, so I would probably use both in my class.

      Jen

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  4. As one of Jen's students, I can vouch for the comment about the "mind map hum." When we did this activity in class, the second those markers hit paper, the class was in total silence. I swear I could hear mechanical gears clicking as everyone worked furiously. Not only did everyone enjoy regurgitating freshly-learned information in pretty and colorful map form, but it was a great refresher. This is such an awesome tool to creatively demonstrate what you learned in class, and they're just so much fun to look at too!

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    1. Thanks for vouching for the mind map hum. We really had a hum that day, didn't we?

      Love those maps....

      Jen

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