This is a mind map I made using bubbl.us. It was a quick way for me to outline what I need to cover for my Ancient Rome unit for 3rd grade. After watching students in my classes use mind maps to organize their thoughts, I felt I should try it myself. As usual, it’s not as easy as it looks! The random format may be less formal than an official outline, but it takes thought to organize the mind map from big ideas down to specific details.
When we teach creatively, I think we underestimate the amount of effort that students need to put into their assignments. Last fall I took an undergraduate class called Human Growth and Development. I was so annoyed that the professor taught by having us do a series of group research projects that we presented to the class. Our presentations took the place of lectures. The professor was using all the best practices I have become familiar with in elementary education! Honestly, I felt put on the spot: I didn’t want to meet with strangers outside of class to work on projects and I didn’t have a lot of creative energy after a long day at work. I really just wanted to read a textbook, memorize the theories of Piaget and Erikson, and take a traditional test. I try to keep this in mind when planning for my students; it is necessary to find a balance between direct instruction and having them generate all the learning experiences. For some students, the added creativity can actually be more demanding and stressful than sitting back and acting like a sponge!!