Think outside the box when it comes to note-taking in the classroom. Not all students are linear thinkers, so why do we encourage them to take traditional, linear notes? It is not surprising that some students struggle to keep up in class, study for a test or have a difficult time retaining information. A large percent of the students that are in our classrooms are visual learners, so it only makes sense to provide alternative ways for students to take notes.
Mind mapping is one of the most effective ways to help students bring note-taking to life in a visual form. By using memory triggers such as pictures, colors, and shapes, students can create a free flowing, organizational system to outline material and information. Mind maps link and group concepts together through natural association and can provide students a visual overview, making it a highly effective study tool.
To get started, all you need is a set of colored markers and paper. Once you’ve chosen your tool, the system is quite simple.
- Start in the center of a blank horizontal piece of paper and create a picture that reflects your central idea or topic. You can also add a text title within the picture, this is your starting point.
- Add main branches off the central idea/topic. These main branches act like chapters in a book. You will want to use different colors to represent each branch and add a keyword or a picture to each.
- Add sub-branches off of the main branches. Once again use a keyword or picture to represent the association between ideas.
- Continue to add and grow your mind map.
I like to think of mind mapping like drawing a tree, the center of the mind map represents the trunk of the tree, the branches grow off the trunk, and the leaves grow off of the branches. Now, I’m not implying that your mind map will have to physically take the shape of a tree. Mind maps can take many shapes and forms depending on the creativity of the creator.
For more information on mind mapping refer to Milady’s Master Educator, 3rd Edition textbook. You can also search the internet for examples and/or mind mapping apps if you want to utilize technology in the classroom.