Friday, January 7, 2011

Class Mind Mapping

I've successfully implemented a non-book activity in 9th grade grammar without it being a total flop. For the first week of the New Year, instead of opening the grammar book - I asked my students to write cards to someone they care about to actually send or give to the person, create a mind map of their 2011 goals, and a list of their 2010 accomplishments.

We then created a chalkboard mind map of one goal per student, and a chalkboard mind map of one accomplishment per student (one at a time based on the size of the chalkboard); and discussed them a little bit. Since we are studying different past tenses, and they've already studied some future tenses, I'm going to have them frame their writing and grammar activities with these mind maps in hopes of making it more relevant to them, easier to come up with ideas and slightly less grammar drill intensive. I also wanted them to be able to reflect on what they have accomplished in comparison to the new goals they are creating for themselves - a handful of them got it that I could tell, maybe more. We'll see how it goes.

Naturally things got a little silly, and my absolute favorite goal for 2011 is: "get married to Robert Pattinson." I had to resist telling this student how many other teenage girls she would have to fight for that one; or that it isn't exactly a reasonable goal, and just laugh it off. The concept of realistic goal/accomplishment didn't fully get through to some students, I just rolled with what I could get. As long as they can write about it I suppose.

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