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Concept Mapping


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I have been asked for my views on how I can introduce some form of concept mapping in Reception as an assessment tool. The idea is that we will collect children's knowledge of our theme/topic at the beginning of the half term on this map and then again at the end. The end product will demonstrate the learning that has taken place and the value we have added.

 

Does anyone out there do this already in any shape or form.

 

I'm not sure how best to do it in a way that will work and be useful for the children. I don't want to be a Luddite but feel reluctant to take on something for the sole purpose of another 'senior' adult coming into Reception and being able to tick boxes! Oh dear that does sound cynical xD If I can do it in a way that helps the children and is meaningful to them, then perhaps it's a good idea. :o

 

Angela

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Isn't this the one in which you scribe all the things they know at the launch of the topic and then again revisit it and scribe what they know at the end of the topic and hopefully :o they will demonstrate some learning.

I remember reading up about it . I'll try to dig up some information if I can find it.

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found it- how sad am I? xD

 

Children are helped to draw a web or flow chart to show what they have learning about. Such a chart would eventually, represent ieas, concepts and knowledge that the chidlren have beeen working on. The procedure may begin by listing out aspects of the topic whcih were covered- (eg. baby teeth, big teeth, dentist, wobbly teeth, bad teeth, fhealthy food, toothbrushes etc)

The chidlren can then map the relationship between the different items- explaining how they see any links. This provides a way of seeing what they have understood. it could provide a basis for teacher and child to talk over misunderstandings and understandings

 

Looks like you will need time in your timetable to do this with all the chidlren

Have fun :o

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Hi there, I actually did some of this yesterday! We've had a half term on growing and this was our summing up time. I asked them to tell their talk partner what they had learned about plants and butterflies this half term. Then they shared it with me and I scribed their answers on the Interactive Whiteboard in the form of a mind map. It fitted nicely into 3 main areas - what plants need, growing from a seed and the butterfly life cycle and I made branches off each of these with relevant information. I have saved it as a record of what the children have learned.

On previous occasions I have done this before and after the topic.

I have also put it into a "big book" with examples of children's work and made it available in the book corner so they can revisit the topic themselves.

Hope that helps a little

heyjude :o

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hi Angela

I know this is 1 of the accelerated learning techniques but have not used it myself.

Obviously heyjude is familiar with it and I believe Helen may have talked about this & Nicola will probably be able to help you.

There is information about mindmapping in "The Thinking Child Resource Book" and in "The Thinking Child" both by Nicola Call & Sally Featherstone.

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:D Thanks to everyone for the responses so far. I'm starting to feel less daunted. Any more ideas welcome! I like the idea of a class big book that can be revisited.

 

Angela

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I have used concept maps in my playgroup as a way of helping the children learn rather than assessing how much they know but can see that you could use it this way. xD I use it particularly when we have been on an outing or had a visitor into playgroup. It is difficult to know how much children have taken in and by drawing a concept map with input from everyone it helps the children to make links between things. It also gives them a laugh because I draw pictures rather than writing words and my drawing is some what suspect!! :( After a recent trip I had to draw a picture of a squirrel :o and the children were amused by it for ages afterwards. :( I draw them on large sheets of paper which I then hang up on the wall so the children can go back to it later. :)

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:D Hi

I went on a course about mindmapping last week, it was however more geared towards Keystage 2!

We were told that the best way to understand mind mapping was to mind map ourselves, I actually found this quite difficult and think that doing a concept map would be easier. From what I gathered it is basically a web or spider diagram but with a bit of extra detail. We were told to use lots of pictures, colours and to make it personal to us (whatever it was about). We were also told that it is important to use curvy rather than straight lines, apparently this is so it is more organic! Apparently straight lines can inhibit creativity! Not sure about that bit!

Nicola Call's "The Thinking Child" says about creating a concept map with actual objects which sounds like a really good way to do it with young children. I may try this at the beginning of next term for our water topic - will let you know how it goes

Using concept mapping as an assessment tool sounds quite lengthy if you are going to do it individually, maybe you could try small groups and observe and record individuals within the groups. It sounds however that your senior member of staff wants something quantifiable in order to work out value added so i'm not sure how suitable it would be

 

Good luck

 

Lizz :)

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Hi again,

if you need to do this individually perhaps you could devise a "master" format / map. I think it could be unbelievably time consuming but I can envisage a " big book" idea.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I recently went on a course about thinking skills in the foundation stage. One of the ideas was mind mapping and I have tried it with my class. Rather than using words or pictures it was suggested that ou start with objects. I used a range of objects about a pet dog, this included a towel, dog biscuits, a dog lead etc. I had a large sheet of paper with a toy dog in the middle and we took each object in turn and discussed what we knew about it and whether a dog would use it. When we had decided what it was for we placed it on the paper and drew a line indicating its use, (whether it was for exercise, eating bath time etc). The children got a lot out of this exercise and it created lots of debate how we should take care of our pets.

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Just a quick hallo & welcome little Angela- I don't think I've done that before!

I thought I knew what this was all about but I'm becoming more curious-must revisit The Thinking Child, I think!! :o

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow, some of you must have read Thinking Child carefully!

 

Yes, there is a section in there about mapping with young children - and a lovely illustration of a group doing this with real objects! There is also a lot about mapping in The Thinking Child Resource Book. Here's one of my favourite parts:

 

Ten good reasons to map in the early years

 

1.Young children are natural mappers - mapping utilises their natural intelligence

2.Mapping can be used as an accurate assessment tool

3.A mind map can then become a record of what the child knows and understands

4.Mapping can be used as a planning tool and a method for sharing plans with the class or group

5.Mind maps can be revisited to add new connections and concepts

6.The process of mapping fosters group learning and cooperation

7.Mapping helps children to connect concepts that otherwise would be learned in isolation

8.Mapping is a skill that will benefit children for life

9.Mapping is an active process that can stimulate all the senses

10.Mapping is fun!

 

 

There is also a section in both The ALPS Approach and The ALPS Approach Resource Book about mapping. ALPS is more general for primary aged children, but there is a fascinating example in the resource book from a five year old boy who mind mapped his understanding of Living Things before and after a topic. The difference was quite incredible, not just in the content that he had absorbed, but also in the connections that he had made.

 

I'd be wary of mapping being used just for the purpose of creating and filling more tick boxes though! The whole purpose is to naturally engage the whole brain, to inform adults about what children already know, to help them to plan, to help children to link concepts and deepen understanding. It is supposed to be practical and enjoyable. It is certainly not to create more paperwork!

 

As a starter, I'd recommend Thinking Child and the Thinking Child Resource book, then if you can borrow a copy, see ALPS and the ALPS Resource book.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Nicola

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I have used a KWL type thing which is a similar idea as a display. I put children's pictures, writing, whatever, of what they knew at the beginning of the display board and then encouraged them to think of Qs they wanted to find answers to which I wrote down in the middle, then we finished the display with new work at the end of the topic. I tried it twice it worked well with one topic but not with the next so I became disillusioned!

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