Monday, October 11, 2010

Simplemind and Time to Explore

I always knew that students need time to explore that includes the classroom the first week of school, the new books on the shelves, the writing workshop toolbox that I have in my classroom, and of course new apps on the iPods.  After adding five new apps this past week, all week I had students come to me and say, Mrs. Caplin did you know.......?  I love those moments.  It is even more fun when I observe the students teaching each other about the apps.

But this week, I was really impressed with some of my students.  We are getting ready to start Story Kit on Tuesday and they are in the middle of the writing process.  I had some students that wanted to use Simplemind app which is a mind mapping tool that is a brainstorming, idea collection and thought structuring device. I was really impressed with their map when they shared it with the class.  I was not sure how to show their web, but I took a snapshot of the map and saved it to my desktop. I then showed the webs on the Smartboard.  It was amazing to hear them explain how this app really helped them organize their writing.  First they liked the color options for putting similar ideas together.  Next they liked being able to move the ideas around and also duplicate ideas if it fit into two categories. The best part for me was that one of the students told me he worked on the app on the way to soccer and another worked on it at their brother's football game.  Learning is everywhere!

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