Apple Botany: “An Apple a Day” Notebooking Pages

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Apple Nature Study for September … and Beyond!

{First published 7/26/12… Revised 9/5/16}

September is for apple picking… Here in New England, the days are still summer-y, but the nights are cool and crisp. And doesn’t it seem like the skies are getting bluer? You might see that the leaves on most of the trees are still be green, but, in the foothills, the red maples are just starting to color up.

You likely are still trying to get some outdoor time with your kids. So I have a great set of notebooking pages to go along with your nature studies this month!

science strategies apple botany

In New England, autumn brings out fall colors… and apple picking! {Photo credit: (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2010}

What’s in “An Apple a Day?”

This collection of botany journaling pages focuses on the structure of the apple blossom and the formation of the fruit. The 20-page set includes both primary and regular-lined pages, so it is suitable for grades K-4. The detailed botanical drawings show both a simple fruit cross-section, as well as the parts of the apple flower and fruit.

In addition to the above diagrams, this e-book also has pages for vocabulary work, free writing and so much more! For example, you can use the blank illustration pages, as well as a variety of frames and lined pages, for a variety of science journaling, laboratory response and writing activities. Furthermore, you can customize your set by printing out only the pages that you want.

Click on the images below for views of some of the pages of this 20-page set.

You can download this e-book ~ just click on the “Buy Now” button below the banner. Then, we will send a link for the download, to the email you give on the order form, within 24 hours of receipt of your payment. Thank you!

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Teaching Geography? 7 Hands-On Items that You MUST Have!

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Earth Science Strategies #2: Using Hands-on Materials

In the last post, I showed you how using models was an important way to teach earth science to young children. Now let’s talk about using hands-on materials as another earth science strategy. We’ll also see how teaching geography in your earth science lessons is easy, using the right materials.

Do you work in a preschool classroom or with young adults? No matter what age your students, you will love this list of models and concrete objects for the geography classroom. So, even if you’re not a Montessori teacher, you will see the usefulness of these items, for any grade. So let’s see which ones you need for YOUR classroom. {Then click on the links for more information.} teaching geography hands-on

Globes are useful for teaching geography through earth science work. {Photo via Creative Commons}

Teaching Geography Using Physical and Visual Models

Physical Models of the Earth and Its features

The more a material resembles the real object of study, the easier it is for students to understand it. So, start teaching geography and geology using models that are 3-dimensional images of the earth and its surface features.

#1 ~ Globes: There are many globes to choose from. First, use a physical globe with realistic colors for land and water , useful for all ages. {Always start with a globe that represents land and water using natural colors: green, brown, white, blue.} Maybe turn it upside down for a great conversation starter about “up” and “down” in space!

#2 ~ Land and Water Models:  Next, let students explore land and water features using water and models of basic surface features: island and lake, peninsula and gulf, isthmus and straight. Use these ready-made Montessori land and water forms, or make your own.

http://simplesciencestrategies teaching geography

Begin globe work that use two colors, only: green for land masses and blue for water bodies. {Photo Credit (c) Jason Wilson, 2006 via Creative Commons}

Visual Models of Earth features: Photographs

So, your students have an understanding of the way the Earth looks from space. Now it’s time to use 2-dimensional images (i.e., photographs) to study geography and earth science.

#3 ~ Photos of the Earth from Space: Because I subscribe to National Geographic Magazine at home, I like to use images from the National Geographic website.   But you can also use Bing to find amazing images of the Earth from space. Post one on your SmartBoard for students to see as they enter the classroom ~ use it as a discussion starter!

#4 ~ Land and Water Form Photos: Don’t throw away old magazines! Tear out images and begin creating a picture file ~ the high-quality images are great for so many learning tasks. Don’t worry too much about sorting ~ leave your filing system open and flexible. Magazine photos make great prompts for writing, too {see this article on using picture prompts with English Learners}. teaching geography models

Use real photos of the Earth from space to spark discussion during earth science lessons. {Photo Credit of Hurricane Sandy (c) NASA/Rob Gutro, 2012 via Creative Commons}

More Visual Models of the Earth: Graphic aids

#5 ~ Climates of the World: Colorful posters about the regions of the Earth are great additions to earth science and geography work. For homeschool, we use the map that comes in the National Geographic magazine. We hang it within view of our work table. These two-sided maps often address bigger issues. For example, this month’s issue visually presents the changing Pacific coastline. In my classroom, I keep these maps in a file for student use.

#6 ~ Geography Nomenclature Cards:  Students use nomenclature cards to learn important concepts. Once students learn these concepts, the teacher then adds the label with the vocabulary word on it. While you can always buy nomenclature cards online, you don’t have to buy them. You can also download these FREE Montessori continents cards, or check out this Pinterest board for tons of other Montessori nomenclature materials. Or, if you’re handy, apply the ideas to create your own card sets, using concepts from your own geography curriculum.

#7 ~ Outline Maps: Students of all ages love maps. The Notebooking Treasury has thousands of blank outline maps to jump-start your geography lessons.  Check out the continent maps and the world maps, for starters. {If you want to try the notebook pages out first, download some FREE resources first — you’ll be very happy, believe me!} teaching geography climate

Posters and maps showing the climate and culture of a region are helpful additions to your geography and earth science studies. {Photo credit (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2016}

Time to Get Teaching!

In this post, I’ve shared just seven teaching materials that you must have, if you want to be a great geography teacher. Using these materials, teaching geography, in your earth science lessons, will be engaging and rich, for all ages.

What classroom supplies do YOU want to add to this list? Let me know in the comments section, below.

{Please note: this post contains some affiliate links. It also has links to some free and wonderful stuff that other educators are offering to all of us!}

Free Notebooking Pages Sampler



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Earth Science Strategies, #1: Using Models

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Picking the Right Earth Science Strategies for the Very Young

Have you ever tried to teach about something vast, to little children who think their dad is huge? Or have you ever tried to explain why we have seasons, or night and day, to a five-year old?

Often, our classroom resources don’t help us. They are often written by science experts who work with older students. So, the earth science strategies and materials we are given in these lessons are ones meant for big kids. Furthermore, it seems that they simply water down the concepts, or take away the “hard” ideas, for preschool and kindergarten …  And what we have left isn’t what we know our kids can learn!

Beyond Rocks and Minerals: Big Ideas for Small People

What SHOULD little ones know about the Earth’s surface?

By the end of kindergarten, children should understand the following big earth science ideas:

  • Systems in the natural world have parts that work together;
  • Models are used to represent relationships in the natural world.

In this post, you will learn two earth science strategies that can help you teach these big earth science ideas, to even the littlest Einstein:

  1. Using models of the Earth and its features;
  2. Working with hands-on materials to explore the structure of the Earth.

By including carefully chosen classroom materials and using models of big ideas, you can teach big earth science ideas in an easy-to-understand and age-appropriate way. earth science strategies

Using models makes understanding huge things – like mountain ranges – easier for young children. {Photo credit: (c) Karyn Christner, 2007 via Creative Commons}

What are Models?

A model is something that is used to explain an important idea or process, especially if it is very abstract or hard to see. It might be a physical model (such as a scale model of a monument or a diagram of a plant cell. But it could also be numerical (such as the equation length x width x height = volume), or verbal (“I before e, except after c”). Today we will be focusing on physical models.

Earth science strategies that include the use of models help young children learn about the Earth’s systems. First of all, they can represent something that is otherwise hard to imagine. In earth science, where we are teaching about huge things (planets, solar systems, stars), this is extremely important. Second, models of these things help children see how the parts work together in a system. Furthermore, a child who can physically move the parts of a model benefits even more.

What is NOT a Model?

Many people confuse replicas with models. A replica is just a copy (usually miniature) of another object. Kids playing with plastic animals in a sensory table are engaging in replica play. The plastic animals aren’t models, as they don’t explain an important concept, relationship or process.

Sometimes, we use activities that we THINK are earth science strategies that use models, but which aren’t. A well-known, and much-loved, example is the volcano that erupts using baking soda and vinegar. It’s fun, but it doesn’t teach students the important information about volcanoes:

  • their structure
  • relationships between the part above the Earth’s surface and materials below
  • the process of eruption
  • role of lava in forming the volcanic cone…

So, if you can’t answer the question, “What did you learn about the relationship between ______ and ______?” using a model, then it isn’t a model!

Models and Hands-On Materials for Kindergarten Earth Science

How do we select the best models for teaching earth science? Let’s look at early childhood programs based on Montessori, Charlotte Mason and Reggio Emilia ideas. Here, we find a number of good types of classroom supplies used to teach little ones, and see what earth science strategies use them. You will find these materials a help in teaching earth science to early learners, no matter where you teach.

Here are three kinds of science models that have withstood the test of time and are effective, hands-on ways to help young children understand concepts in earth science:

1.       Globes

First up in our list of earth science models is the globe. Globes are smaller-scale representations of the Earth. By using globes in earth science, students learn that the Earth is a sphere, surrounded by space, and that the oceans and land masses on its surface interact with one another in a global system.

Many Montessori classrooms also show the difference between the land masses and the oceans by using sandpaper to cover the continents of the Earth. As a result, students learn that there is a pattern to how the globe shows land and water in both color and texture, and the distribution of land and water over the Earth’s surface. Globes can also be used in demonstrations involving light sources, to help students understand day and night, and seasons.

Some globes split in two, revealing the layers of the Earth within. In this way, the model is used to show the relationship between the land masses on the surface and the materials deep within the Earth. earth science strategies

Using globes helps young children understand the Earth’s position in space. {Photo Credit: (c) Jon Jordan, 2012 via Creative Commons}

2.       World Map Puzzles

To further explore the land and water of the Earth’s surface, early childhood teachers use a variety of sturdy world map puzzles to teach the relationship between the land masses and oceans of the world. Ideally, the pieces of the puzzle are shaped like the land and water masses of the Earth’s surface. Most early childhood teachers use wooden puzzles, often with knobs to help little hands grasp and place the pieces more easily. These sturdy classroom materials last for many years.

Earth science strategies that involve globes and maps also are used to connect to geography, as teachers can begin with physical maps and globes, and then gradually shift to using political ones. earth science strategies

World maps should have pieces shaped like the land forms of the Earth’s surface. {Photo credit (c) Katherine Clark, 2012 via Creative Commons}

3.       Montessori Land forms

The third example of the earth science strategies that I love to borrow from Montessori classrooms is the use of land form models. Using these models, students learn about the names for different land masses: peninsula, isthmus, delta, etc. Some teachers buy these land forms models. Still others create them using salt dough or similar materials, or even have the children make them.

Students focus on identifying and describing a specific land form, using its unique attributes. Then, they can apply this learning to their work with maps and globes.

4.       Other Helpful models and materials

There are other models that are helpful for specific parts of earth science instruction. One model is the stream table. Stream tables are extremely useful when talking about the interaction between the water and land masses of the Earth’s surface. Another model that I would add to your classroom is a timeline. Geological timelines can help students understand how slowly Earth changes are happening. Finally, when possible, use real fossils, rock and mineral specimens, and other earth materials for authentic hands-on work.

Final Thoughts on Using Models

Today, I’ve taught you what a model is. Additionally, we discussed how earth science strategies using models can help young children learn important earth science concepts. Finally, I shared with you three models that I think all early childhood classrooms should have: globes, world map puzzles, and Montessori land forms.

Next time, I will share with you some ways that preschool and kindergarten teachers have incorporated these models into a purposeful sequence, so that little ones learn important ideas about the Earth’s surface.

If you’re shopping for teaching materials… earth science strategies models

Illuminated globe with base ~ $49.98 at Hearthsong. earth science strategies models

World map puzzle ~$11.04 at Barnes and Noble



You might also be interested in…

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What models do you use to teach earth science?  Leave a comment below!










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Get Started Teaching Science: You, Too, Can Be a Science Teacher!

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Teaching Science … Who, Me?

So, you’re teaching science next week… Moms, teachers: please raise your hand if you were a science major in college.

{Crickets chirping}

Chances are, you raised your hand – and that’s okay. Because most people weren’t. As a result, you know that teaching science is something that you must do this year… But where to begin?

You probably have a teacher’s guide for language arts. On your desk, you have workbooks with tons of math problems and handwriting practice. Maybe you boast ten lifetime memberships to computer game sites. And, of course, your library is filled with just-right books for you children. But the “what” and “how” of teaching science intimidates you.

So, to help you out, I will share ten tips for getting started teaching science ~ ways that anyone can begin. Choose any of these tips, and stick with it for 30 days, and you will be on your way to building a solid science teaching habit in your homeschool or classroom. I promise.

10 Tips for Getting Started Teaching Science

If you are anxious about teaching science, maybe you have one of three main problems:

  1. You have no clear science topic in mind;
  2. Perhaps you have a topic, but don’t have any ideas for presenting it;
  3. Or, you have a topic and some ideas, but wish you had more science knowledge.

So, let’s look more closely at each of these problems, and talk about some tips for solving them. getting started teaching science

You might be worried about finding a topic for your science lessons ~ but you need go no farther than your own yard to find one! {Photo credit (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2016}

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Back to School time is here … are YOU ready?

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Dealing with “Back to School” Jitters

Are you getting ready to go back to school now? You’ve assembled curriculum… Your custodians are buffing school floors and getting classrooms sparkly… Teachers are busy making desk name tags and unpacking supplies. And you can’t go to any Wal-Mart without stumbling over “Back to School” displays in full regalia.

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Your bulletin board is ready… but are YOU?

There is a lot of excitement during Back to School Season. The school supplies (ahhh… those school supplies…), new clothes, new teachers. But, for many of us, going back to school in the fall can also bring a serious case of nerves.

Maybe we don’t like the idea of swapping flip flops for dress shoes. Perhaps it’s the change in routine, from late morning starts to getting up with the birds.  There are many reasons why the start of the school year creates mixed emotions in young and old, alike.


Tips for Easing Back to a School Routine

Wherever you teach, there are some things you can do to make the transition easier for everyone:

  1. First, honor those feelings.

Sarah Leitschuh, of Sarah Leitschuh Counseling, PLLC, suggests acknowledging a child’s misgivings about going back to school, even if you don’t share them. Parent’s can involve their children in back to school preparations, such as picking out a new lunchbox. Teachers can send “welcome” postcards late in the summer. In “Children and Stressors: Beginning of the School Year,” Leitschuh gives many tips for helping everyone get off to a good start on their new year.

My friends at Bright Ideas Press  discuss emotions and schooling in “Emotional Homeschoolers: Learning to Handle Emotions. back to school

When kids go back to school in the fall, they may be leaving behind a lot of play ~ use fun and educational activities to ease them back to school. {Photo credit (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2010}

  1. Plan fun activities for the first days and weeks.

Even if you’re working with the adults in the building, remember that their heads might be elsewhere, too.  The may still be thinking of the Cape, or that daycare drop-off. Can we bring a little play in to help us make the switch from vacation to profession?

Donna Morgan recently wrote of a great way to ease groups (both young and old) into working together, by focusing on the simple soap-bubble! In “Bubbles – They Are Not Just for Kids, You Know!“, Morgan shares how she uses soap-bubble blowing as a way to focus on breathing, being present and observing and visualizing ourselves in a positive place.

What a great idea for a first staff meeting!

  1. Prepare for rough spots.

Our best defense is a good offense. Instead of reacting to rough days during back to school week, let’s prepare in advance so we have a strategy.

When we are having a tough day, it’s easy for our kids’ tough days to get under our skin. In “How to Stay Calm in the Moment,” Jessica Cowling shares her insight as a mom on how to observe during times of conflict with a child.

As a classroom teacher, I have used this strategy time and time again. By being able to step out of my feelings and ask myself, “What are the kids trying to tell me? What do they need?” I am able to derail my own emotions and realize, “They’re telling me they need to get up,” or “They’re telling me it’s just too hot to think today.” back to school

Staying organized is the key to keeping your back to school week running smoothly ~ and keeping your nerves intact. {Photo credit (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2011}

  1. Stay organized.

I once worked with a woman who never left work at the end of the day without her desk cleaned and organized. Her inbox was empty. Her pencils were sharpened. Her plants were watered and her goldfish fed. The trash can was emptied and her folder for the next day was placed neatly in the center of her blotter. When she walked out the door, she was peaceful and usually humming to herself.

Here’s a routine to start right on the first day you go back to work: spend the last half-hour of your day planning for tomorrow. Mike Gardner (“The Time Doctor”) discusses this tip that is sure to give anyone (homeschooler, classroom teacher or coach) a bit more peace at the start of each school day.

  1. Take your classroom outdoors.

There really isn’t anything that you have to teach that you can’t teach, back to school

Just 15 minutes outside is all you need to add fun, interest and important science learning to your back to school days ~ see A Child’s Garden for ideas! {Photo credit (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2011}

at least in part, out-of-doors. During Back to School month, planning outdoor breaks is great, but planning part of an real lesson outdoors makes that time do double duty, serving body, mind and spirit of the teacher, as well as the students.

In my post, “Welcome to “A Child’s Garden,” I share links to many ways you can use just 15 minutes of your day to refresh your teaching, through nature studies, experiments and guided expeditions.

Free Stuff to help you start the year!

Teachers love a little help, especially at the start of the school year. One thing I’ve found helpful in my classrooms is the use of notebooking pages to help jumpstart students’ writing. Why not try them, risk-free, with a free membership promotion? I’ve been a lifetime member of the Notebooking Treasury at since 2010 – try the free membership and I guarantee you will become a member, too!

Notebooking Pages Free Membership

What do you do to ease students (and staff!) back to school in the fall?

Leave a comment below ~ we love to hear from you and share our ideas! If you found this article helpful, and would like to see more, subscribe to this website using the subscription gadget in the sidebar. Happy Back to School!













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5 Tech Tools to Add Power to Your School Day

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Tech Tools for Homeschool and Classroom

The Oxford Dictionary defines a tool  as “a device or implement, especially one held in the hand, used to carry out a particular function.” In our classrooms, technology is everywhere. Teachers use it; students use it. But are we getting the most out of these products as tech tools?

In this post, we will look at five tech tools that you can add to your school day, without needing PD or a college course to use them. Not only are these great for the classroom, they add interest to homeschool and tutoring sessions, providing other ways for students to learn and practice material.

5 Tech Tools to Try

IXL Math and English

IXL is a comprehensive math and English language arts practice website for use by K-12 students and educators. A paid subscription ($12.95/mo, or $99/year) gets you unlimited access to thousands of Common Core Standards-based practice sets, progress monitoring, including reporting, and awards for the student as he masters standards. If you are a Canadian citizen, you are also directed to curriculum specific to your province. tech tools

IXL Math and Language Arts – free, standards-based practice each day.

For those who don’t need the full subscription, free access gets you 20 practice problems per day — a great independent assignment to assess student progress on a particular standard. You don’t get the reporting feature, but I have my son photograph and text me the score screen to show me how he did on an assessment.

New content is posted to the site regularly, with new material for higher-level English on the way, and brand new apps to get access to the site on all your mobile devices.

Project Spark

Interested in teaching computer science to your students, but don’t know how? Sign up for Project Spark, and your kids will be coding with no help from you, at all.

In Project Spark, students use a video game setting and intuitive commands to create “worlds” run by “brains” (computer programs), creating characters and game-style actions (e.g., picking up objects, getting rewards) by writing their own html code. The interface is game-like, but the learning is straight-up computer science, with students learning about string variables, subroutines and other basic computer science concepts using drag-and-drop coding components.

Students can choose to publish their worlds for others to explore and use. If they don’t know how to do something (e.g., change the color or texture of a creature’s skin) there is a ton of Google-able content by other users.

The digital download is available free for Xbox One and Windows 8.1.


Timelines are a great way for students to summarize their learning in history class. In my house, however, lives a young man who has always abhorred any activity that involved “cutting and gluing.” Using Dipity, an online timeline-building tech tool, he can create beautiful timelines, complete with photographs and links to online resources — a great way to create a multimedia presentation, using simple cut-and-paste functions.

Users can change backgrounds, fonts and timeline markers not only to create timelines, but also to document their learning over the year, to create visual guides to their reading over the semester, or to chronicle important events in their own lives — the options are limitless. tech tools

Use Dipity to create stunning, interactive timelines online.

Users can create a few timelines free, or subscribe to Dipity Premiums (subscriptions start at $4.95/mo) for more timelines and premium backgrounds and effects.

Bing Home

For a great tech tool that can become a great addition to your students’ independent work, look no further than the Bing home page.

You probably have noticed that the Bing home page image, which changes daily, is always visually stunning and generates many questions. But have you ever noticed the little squares on the Bing home screen? These clickable spots on the daily image lead to great content on the image, using Bing’s own highly rated search function. tech tools

Use the Bing Home image as a springboard for web-based research.

For example, in the image for today (11/10/2015), we see an overhead view of a shopping mall, which we learn is in Singapore (by clicking on the “info” button at the bottom of the screen). The clickable spots on the image lead to three other Bing tech tools, Bing images (of street shots in Singapore), Bing videos (showing shopping areas in Singapore) and Bing web search (with links to a renowned Hindu temple in Singapore).

You could use the Bing home page image to start a great web quest, or as a way for students to begin to explore a topic of study, to gather ideas for their own research project.

Bing offers many other tech tools for the classroom. All are free. You can choose to set Bing as your home page or simply type in to use the home page image.

Khan Academy

Need something for one of your advanced students to do while you work with her classmates? Does one of your students need a refresher on how to solve for x? Is your homeschooler interested in Neoclassical Art and you don’t know a thing about it? Khan Academy is a tech tool for you! tech tools

Khan Academy lets students create a customized learning path.

With only an email address, you can start a class account and invite all your students, or set up accounts for each student, for free. You can assign placement tests for a particular subject, and Khan will build a customized practice plan for that student. Or you can let a student create his own learning profile, telling Khan Academy what he wants to study, and letting Khan recommend materials for him (a great “unschooling” tool).

No matter how you choose content, Khan keeps track of your students’ activities and progress, through their own individual dashboards, and a coaching report placed your teacher dashboard. Additionally, parents get a report on their child’s activities, via their email address. Students win badges for various tasks (minutes on Khan, mastery of a concept, videos watched).

Khan has an amazing wealth of short instructional videos for teachers and students (if you forgot how to read the periodic table, or use the FOIL method in algebra).

Khan Academy  is always free, all the time, and is available for PC or Mac OS.

Tech Tools for All Your Teaching Needs

Have you used any of these tech tools in your classroom or homeschool? Leave us a note to tell us how you included any of these in your routines.

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Power Thinking: Concept Mapping in Smart Notebook 2015

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Powerful Thinking… Powerful Learning

When we teach, we want students to learn. The more we can get them to think about the content we are presenting, the deeper and longer-lasting their learning becomes. In this post, we will explore Power Thinking, a concept mapping and outlining strategy that helps students organize information. concept mapping

Power Thinking: a great concept mapping and outlining strategy for all ages. {Image via Creative Commons}

What is Power Thinking?

Power Thinking is a strategy that students use to organize information, much like you would do in an outline. The most important piece of information, the title or topic, represents Level 1; main ideas are Level 2; other ideas or details become Level 3. Additional levels may be added, depending on the topic or the age of your students. For some students, the information can be color-coded by level, or the ideas can be numbered.

In the Power Thinking strategy, students stand in a circle in an open floor space and take turns placing pieces of information on the floor, building the map one piece at a time. When students run out of information to add, they may move one piece to another part of the map. In my classes, I usually conduct two rounds with information, then two rounds moving information, before ending the task.

The trick to Power Thinking is that the task is performed silently. This allows students who need more think time to process without classmates calling out answers or giving advice. It also requires students to think more deeply as they wait.

The Learning Benefits of Power Thinking

As with any concept mapping activity, Power Thinking helps students think about the many ways they can connect information, leading to a deeper understanding of the topic being studied. The hierarchical thinking that is used also helps students understand main ideas and supporting details. Older students can use this thinking to take better notes.

Power Thinking assists a wide range of learners, providing multiple entry points for the students in your class. The ability to stand and physically move items helps students who need a more active learning environment. Color cues, when used, aid in identifying levels of information, and help some students remember the levels later. Because there are many ways to connect pieces of information, students who are divergent thinkers are able to participate equitably, as well.

Concept Mapping Technology

Thanks to the plethora of educational technologies available in most classrooms today, students can practice concept mapping on many electronic devices. In this post, we will explore the use of the Smart Board and Smart Notebook 2015 software as concept mapping tools to use in Power Thinking.

Concept Mapping Using Smart Notebook 2015

The newest version of Smart Notebook includes built-in tools for concept mapping on your Smart Board.  Follow the steps below to make your Power Thinking Activity high-tech.

Before you teach:

  • Step 1. Open Smart Notebook 2015.
  • Step 2. Click the new concept mapping tool on the top tool bar. concept mapping

Smart Notebook 2015 includes a new concept mapping tool in the main tool bar.

  • Step 3. Prepare term cards for students. On notecards or pieces of sentence strip, write the terms and phrases that you want students to use in the concept mapping activity. {A practice set on bird eggs is included for your convenience.}

Power thinking:

  • Step 4. Pass out term cards to students. Each student should have at least two cards. Adjust the number of terms to match your class size.
  • Step 5. Students begin mapping. One at a time, students come to the board and create a map item by writing the term on their card, and circling it. Circling it causes the term to become a movable item on the Smart Board.
  • Step 6. Students connect items on the map. As students place their terms on the map, they can drag them to other terms and connect them by drawing a line between related items.
  • Step 7. Students move items. Once all the terms are on the board, continue with 1-2 additional rounds, allowing students to move one item to a new location, erasing and redrawing connections.

After teaching:

After the learning task is finished, you may save and print your concept map. Power Thinking can be repeated after instruction of key parts of the topic, and can also be used as a summative assessment after instruction is completed.

For an exciting collaborative twist on concept mapping, see the video, below, where students collaborate to build a concept map of words and photos using their individual mobile devices and the classroom Smart Board.

Get Mapping!

I hope you enjoy this concept mapping tutorial for use with your Smart Board. Happy mapping!

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