Tuesday, July 10, 2012

MINDMAPS??? What Are They? How Could They Support ELLs in Common Core Classes?

With the common core around the corner and more ELLs in mainstream classes, there needs to be a way to fully engage students in academically challenging material without inundating them with language in the early stages of learning.

When most of us were in college, we took linear notes.  Lots of words one after the other with few links.  We tied the concepts together at home or in the library where we would pour over the class notes and try to reorganize them in ways we could remember for tests.

Was this the most effective way to order key points and examples?  For the majority of us, this was not the case.  It went against the way the brain processes information.  Mind mapping mimics the way our brains process information (oh how I wish I had known about this when I was studying at the university YEARS ago).

This first link explains the logic behind mind maps.  With students processing new information through such a format, they will not only have more organized material to study, but will be better prepared to write essays/compositions.  EXPLANATION OF MINDMAPS

This next link explains how to create mind maps for the novice.  I have done this with my own ELLs where they had to create mind maps on their lives (past, present, and future).  It continues to be a great class opening activity and a real conversation starter for Back-To-School night parent visits.  Try your own following the easy-to-follow steps in this video.  Share it with your students as a model.  Since students always love learning everything possible about their teachers, they will pay careful attention as you take them through the process using your own as a model.HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN MIND MAP

What does this look like as part of a lesson?  Take a look at this last link.  Here a university professor elaborates on the many uses she has found for concept maps (mind maps) for her students.  One technique I found particularly effective was the insistence on NO talking as students come up to complete the opening concept map (only one word in the center and students then create branches out from it based on their own experiences).CLASS ASSESSMENT USING MIND MAPS/CONCEPT MAPS

With common core coming, this type of technique would easily allow ELLs to participate with ease since words, phrases, or drawings could be used to fill out the map. Discussion would come AFTER the concept map was completed.  The ELLs would have ample opportunity to note key words, clarify their understanding of the concepts, and then write  summaries (following the concept map) of what they now understand.  This would only be a first draft so students would not have to worry about correctness at this point.

Try this in your classes.  You will be happy with the results:)



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