As a former English teacher I have always believed one of the best ways to help students write is to have them brainstorm and/or plan their writing. One way to do the prewriting is through a mind mapping app like Popplet.
Popplet Lite, a free app, allows for the creation of up to five mind maps. The paid version, Popplet, costs $4.99. I did not find a limit to the number of mind maps which can be created in the paid account.
I created a mind map using Popplet Lite, as if I were preparing to write an autobiography. I like the way it pictures and drawings can be added to the Popplet. I am not an artist, but I understand some people may like this feature or they may think in terms of pictures. Here is a screenshot off my popplet.
Mapping out stories or essays before writing can help the writer to see the bigger picture of the story. Moreover, I can see this being used in the classroom for the understanding of how the characters connect in a series of stories. This could be a valuable tool in understanding the connections between the characters in the different Harry Potter novels or any other series of novels. Another way a mind map could be used is the beginning stages of developing a personal narrative or writing a biography. Also mind maps could be created to show relationships between the states and/or the original 13 colonies.
How do you utilize mind mapping and/or brainstorming in your classroom to engage students? Please share you experiences, ideas, and feedback in the comments or email me – firstname.lastname@example.org.