Creating a lesson plan can be time consuming; a luxury that teachers simply do not have. As a result, lesson planning often doesn’t get the amount of attention that it should. However, Mind Mapping your lesson plan can save you time, as well as vastly improve the structure and clarity of your lesson. Having a visual overview of your plan will also allow you to easily spot the gaps where you have forgotten something, ensuring you have everything covered. Your notes will be clear and concise; great for when you have a substitute teacher covering your class!
Using Mind Mapping software such as iMindMap will give you ultimate flexibility when creating your lesson plan. Your items can be easily edited, deleted or moved around the map, and also customised to bring your personal creativity to lesson planning. In addition, you can attach appended notes, files and website links straight to your Map that can be accessed at any point with a single click. iMindMap encourages collaboration between teachers as it allows you to share your Maps in a number of digital formats including image, PDF, webpage, PowerPoint and SVG.
To get started Mind Mapping your lesson plan, follow these 7 simple steps…
1 ) Create a central idea
A nice and easy step to begin. To start a Mind Map, you’ll always need to choose a central idea. The central idea represents the subject of the Mind Map, and acts as a constant reminder of the main subject which all thoughts will extend from. As you’re creating a lesson plan, it would make sense for your central idea to be the topic you’re going to be teaching, and to whom. Make it big and colourful to spark associations and ideas, and also to help you recall information.
2 ) Determine the objectives
Now you can add the first of your main branches. Branches connect everything on your Map, radiating your thoughts and reflecting the way your mind makes associations. On each main branch, add a keyword to represent the elements of your lesson plan. The keywords will trigger a greater amount of associations compared to more ‘locked in’ sentences.
When lesson planning, most teachers prefer to begin with the end. In other words, it’s best to recognise what you want your students to achieve by the end of the lesson before you go ahead and plan the lesson itself. Therefore, start by creating a main branch named ‘Objectives’ and add sub-branches radiating from that for each lesson objective. Use the icons in iMindMap to number your objectives.
3 ) Identify the details
Although the details may seem obvious, it’s a good idea to identify the background information that’s associated with the lesson. Create your second main branch and name it ‘Details’, with sub-branches for which class the lesson will take place in, the date of the lesson, the duration of it, and any other simple, yet important details.
4 ) Perfect your preparation
Planning a lesson isn’t just about what needs to be taught during it and what you want to achieve from it. It also involves thinking ahead and anticipating what’s going to happen in the lesson itself. The amazing thing about Mind Mapping is that it triggers ‘what if?’ thinking, meaning you’re more likely to spot weaknesses and problems than you would if you didn’t bother to plan in advance.
Entitle your next main branch, ‘Preparation’, and think about all of the things you’ll need to prepare to be able to carry out your lesson effectively. Do you need to change the layout of a class? What materials do you need to prepare for it? Do you need to prepare homework?
5 ) Recognise your resources
A lesson would be ineffective without the appropriate materials for the students, so it’s important that you ensure they are available for them. Name your next main branch ‘Resources’ and think about what resources you’ll need in order to teach the class. Ask yourself questions such as, do you need reading materials? If so, how many copies will you need? Mind Mapping improves recall, so this will ensure that you remember all of the essentials and avoid any major mishaps.
6 ) Plan your activities
As you already know, it’s important to thoroughly plan the activities beforehand to ensure a productive lesson. Having said that, the name of your next main branch should be ‘Activities’, and your sub-branches should be the activities, or series of activities, that the students will be taking part in. Your lesson may be based on independent reading, a presentation given by you, group discussion, or maybe a combination of them all. As your Mind Map gives you a clear overview of what you want to teach and what you want to achieve from the lesson, planning the appropriate activities will be easy.
7 ) Establish how you will evaluate
It’s essential to reflect on the lesson itself; what went well? What went badly? What could be improved? Your next main branch should be named ‘Evaluation’, and your sub-branches should be triggers for the questions that you can ask yourself after the lesson in order to evaluate it and improve for next time.
8 ) Decide how you will assess
The final step in Mind Mapping your lesson plan is to decide how you want to assess your students’ understanding of what you’re going to teach them. How are you going to ensure they have grasped the information? Are you going to observe them as they discuss in their groups? Are you going to get them to answer questions in a workbook? Or maybe you’re going to set homework? Mind Mapping your assessment methods will help you discover which methods are most suitable, based on what you plan on teaching, for assessing your students afterwards.
Hint: Mind Mapping is a great technique for assessing your students’ understanding of a topic. Getting your students to create a Mind Map of the knowledge they have gained will not only help you determine their level of understanding, but reveal which elements need to be revised. It will also help them to remember the work as Mind Mapping helps us to recall information.
Mind Mapping your lesson plan will not only guarantee a clear and visual overview of what needs to be covered in the lesson itself, but an overview of the important tasks that come after, such as self-evaluation. What’s important to remember is that the better you prepare, the more organised and confident you will be when delivering the lesson.
Mind Mapping your lesson plan is just the start; Mind Maps also have many other uses for teachers, such as presenting concepts when delivering the lesson itself, creating hand-outs, and for pre and post assessing your students’ level of understanding of a topic. For students, Mind Maps can be used for general note taking, planning an essay, creating presentations, and as revision aids.
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