Graphic Organizers/Concept Maps – Limiting or Encouraging Thinking?

I made a concept map that I thought would help the students in their writing. As I observed the students, I realized that my concept map actually stopped their thinking. When students have a paper concept map, they stop when all the bubbles, boxes, or lines are filled in. When they have an online one with bubbles, boxes or lines, they do the same. They fill in the bubbles, boxes or lines and they stop thinking. However, often these concept maps are just the start of the students’ thinking about the topic. The concept maps are more like a writing prompt than the actual writing.

I realize that my concept map did not have enough boxes, bubbles or lines to guide the students to explore the writing topic more thoroughly. Likewise the boxes, bubbles or lines were too small. Once the students have written something that fills the boxes, bubbles, or lines, they stop writing. The boxes, bubbles or lines confine the students.

Cause Effect concept map

This concept map needs to be extended to include the three major examples and the details that the students will use to prove each cause or effect. The concept map will double in size. In addition, if I am using a paper version, I will stretch it out to be a full page so that the students have plenty of writing space. Bigger spaces equals more room for thinking.

What do your concept maps look like? Do they encourage additional thinking or do they stop the students’ thinking?

Advertisements

8 Responses to “Graphic Organizers/Concept Maps – Limiting or Encouraging Thinking?”


  1. 1 Steve Ransom February 22, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    That’s why digital concept maps are so valuable. They can be revised over and over again. I would agree with you that if we give students a fixed concept map, they can complete it – and it CAN be a valuable activity. But, allowing them the flexibility to form their own concept maps works much better with schema theory, allows for divergent thinking, and is a wonderful window into their developing understanding. With a bit of scaffolding, their schematic can evolve to become more and more complex.

  2. 2 tom February 23, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Have you ever used freemind?

  3. 3 hgtuttle February 23, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Steve,
    Great point. The delicate balance is between their creating their concept maps and the scaffolding they need to be able to do it by themselves.

  4. 4 hgtuttle February 23, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Tom,
    I briefly looked at freemind http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
    I prefer graphic organizers that have shapes, i.e. ones that seem more like Inspiration. I’m a visual persons and for me, a good graphic organizer one that it is easy to put shapes in to represent different topics. Personally, I tend not to like text based graphic organizers.
    Harry

  5. 5 Patric March 5, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Well to answer your question, my concept maps are usually much larger as I always try to require them to fill in as much information as possible while they are working on the map. For instance, lets say that one cause is a learning disability now have them list three learning disabilities that would be associated with that particular cause.

    In my experience, one of the best benefits of concept mapping, is the student studying the map after he/she completes it. Simply because know they are able to fully absorb the information in front of them, without having to make sense of everything first. It sounds like your idea is good, hope everything works out.

  6. 6 hgtuttle March 5, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Patric,
    I agree that the students studying or reflecting on the concept map is even more powerful than their creating it. Sort of the synthesis and then the evaluation levels of thinking. It is hard to have students spend time reflecting once they have done it. Any suggestions?
    Harry

  7. 7 PatricH March 6, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Harry,
    I agree that it is more difficult to get the kids to study the map after its creation. I would suggest using the completed concept map as a study guide for a quiz or other project.
    One other thing to consider that works really well is to have each student fill out the map with all of the main content, using your example in the post, have them fill out the problem, causes and effects and then simply pass it to the next student to continue the map in further detail. What this will do is require each student to again analyze the key information, so that they can build on it. While the information each student writes in the first part of this project is similar, it will of course vary and require each student to re-read and re-analyze it.

  8. 8 hgtuttle March 7, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    PatricH,
    Thanks for your great example. I really like your make it and pass it on.
    Harry


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




RSS Education with Technology

  • Tech Integration Teacher, What time is it? August 23, 2016
    When someone asks what time it is, that person wants to know the time, not the history of the clock, not how a clock works, and not what other types of clocks there are. Classroom teachers want to help their students improve their academic learning through technology. Sometimes they need help with technology so they go […]
    hgtuttle
  • Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus July 28, 2016
    In my public school career I have been a classroom teacher, a technology integration specialist and a technology administrator. In my technology role, I served under the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. She had a simple mission: Improve students’ academic learning. My mission was equally simple: Improve students’ academic learning through technology […]
    hgtuttle
  • Students React to Digital Badges: Pros, Cons and Interesting June 22, 2016
      ISTE 2016 By Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D. College World Language Students’ Preferences Digital Badges – 52%        Paper Certificates – 48% World Language: Can-Do Digital Badges Digital Badges Pro- – Breaks down proficiency more – Shows all badges at once – Is more attractive – Is more appropriate since we use […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Naming the Badge October 29, 2015
    Once teachers have selected what learning and what digital badges (individual or category badges; see previous blog), the teachers encounter another decision. What will they name each badge? Will they use the full name of the Common Core Standard or the national proficiency? For English, under “Speaking and Listening,”will they write out SL.2 “Integrate and […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
    Teachers understand that the grade in a course consists of many different factors such as homework, participation , projects, tests, etc. Blodget observes that sometimes grades reflect attitude, effort, ability and behavior (http://www.academia.edu/9074119/Grading_and_Whether_or_not_Grades_Accurately_Reflect_Student_Achievement). Equally important, a letter […]
    hgtuttle
  • World Language Students Use of Mobile Devices in the Classroom October 5, 2015
    Do world language students use technology n the classroom? Do their  teachers go beyond having their students use technology simply for the drill and practice in vocabulary and grammar? Students can use laptops and mobile devices to hear authentic language, read authentic texts, read tweets about famous performers, see up-to-the-moment culture,  watch video […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Individual or Categorized Learning Badges? September 12, 2015
    The idea of digital badges sounds appealing for the digital children in classes. As teachers start thinking about digital badges, they have to figure out what badges will be awarded. The teachers can award social or academic badges. If teachers decide to use academic badges, then the teachers may base their badges on the Common […]
    hgtuttle
  • English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details) June 30, 2014
    Here are the ten examples I showed at my English + Common Core  + Mobile ISTE 2014 Poster Session: Based on CCSS Anchor Statements: L.2 Take a Conventions Mobile Online Quiz  to pick the  incorrect sentence from four choices (capitalization) SL.2  Evaluate audio recording of a  book chapter on mobile and predict for next chapter. […]
    hgtuttle
  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
    Based on my presentation at ISTE 2014 Mobile Megashare Why teach about other countries? Location: Large view to small on maps. Culture or culture. Find six similarities in a  mobile picture from another culture (“Wars are caused by differences, not similarities.”-Tuttle.) Tell one piece of information from each different Internet visual from a place in that […]
    hgtuttle
  • English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 2014 June 25, 2014
    In my ISTE Sunday 8-10 am poster session, I demonstrate many diverse mobile activities to help students achieve the English Language Arts Common Core Anchor Statements through mobile devices. The mobile activities focus on free common tool apps that are available on both the Android and the iPad. The students use the apps as a seamless […]
    hgtuttle

Blog Stats

  • 740,227 hits

%d bloggers like this: