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Monday, November 23, 2009

Jake B., Physics Teacher at Mt. Blue, November 19, 2009


   On Thursday, I visited Jake's physics class.  Dan Ryder, his coach from 591, also attended.  Jake was in the process of concept mapping a chapter in the textbook.  He did this after reviewing students' notes they had taken during an introduction he had given to this chapter.  While they had zeroed in on the key concepts, they did not see the connections between the ideas and he was concerned - how could they understand if they did not know how they ideas were related? 
   In order to address this concern, he decided to have them use the program, Inspiration.  This is an excellent program for students to help them map their thinking.  As Jake moved around the room working with individual students, I could see students were having great success.
   What impressed me the most were the conversations students were having with each other as well as with adults.  They were clear that this process of mapping (students connected ideas as they made sense to them) helped them clarify their thoughts and they could explain it in meta-cognitive terms.  Interestingly enough, the maps were all different, but correct! 
   This is key for educators to understand.  Students think differently and we need to find ways to empower them. How many students receiving extra help just need to process the information in a slightly different way? This program is something we need to take a serious look at for all of our classes. - Bravo!

1 comment:

melissa_allen said...

Jake,
I have just started to use Inspirations with my class, it is a real nice way of simplifing a outline.
Melissa