Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Instruction & Literacy Tip # 1: Concept Maps

Meghan Retallick contributed this post. Meghan sends a weekly "Instruction & Literacy Tip" to her staff. Click here for more "Instruction & Literacy Tips". Click here for all of Meghan's Literacy Booth posts.
I'm back from maternity leave and recent conversations with our technology and instruction planning team have inspired me to start a new way to collaborate with the teaching staff in my district about instruction and literacy.  Each week, I'll electronically share an evidence-based instructional strategy that can be implemented in all content areas, and I figured this would be something to share with our blog followers as well.  This week, I'm thinking a lot about concept maps!  Reading Rockets explains more:
"What is a concept map?
A concept map is a visual organizer that can enrich students' understanding of a new concept. Using a graphic organizer, students think about the concept in several ways. Most concept map organizers engage students in answering questions such as, "What is it? What is it like? What are some examples?" Concept maps deepen understanding and comprehension.
Why use a concept map?
  • It helps students organize new information.
  • It helps students to make meaningful connections between the main idea and other information.
  • They're easy to construct and can be used within any content area."

See this link to Reading Rockets for step by step instructions of how to use and sample PDF templates.

I began thinking about concept maps after reading this blog post on Peter DeWitt's blog, Finding Common Ground, from guest blogger, Lisa Westman.  The title, "4 Phrases All Teachers Say and No Students Understand" definitely caught my eye!  I'm guilty of all of these phrases, but concepts maps are one strategy to make learning meaningful for students.  I love the idea of shifting our focus from vague phrases to best practices shown through John Hattie's research to make an impact on student learning.

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