I found a website recently (I am sorry I can’t remember the address) that detailed a strategy for learning called Power Writing. I had never heard of this strategy before but it sounded so wonderful that I immediately started using it in my classroom. My students love it! The process is that you give the students a topic – for example this past week I gave my students the topic – The Civil War. The students had 15 seconds to think of everything they can about the Civil War. Then, they had 15 more seconds to narrow down the topic. Finally, I gave them one minute to write about all the connections they could think of to the Civil War. The goal, it seems, is to have a brain dump of all of the information the students know about the topic. The more the students power write on a topic, the more they are going to make new connections and cement their learning. I LOVE this! My students seem to have trouble remembering more and more information (I have a theory on that – I will expand upon in a later post!). The Power Write helps the students make and retain connections. I can see how effective this tool would be if it were used consistently, day-after-day on the same topic. I wish I could say I was consistent enough to remember to do it daily, but I get focused on trying to cover my material.
Last week after I showed my students how to power write the they wrote for the first time, they were still a little confused on if they have followed the process correctly. I used a wonderful tool called eyeplorer to show them what I was looking for!. I went to the eyeplore website and typed in Civil War and got the map above of the Civil War. The map shows all the possible connections of the Civil War. The students LOVED eyeplorer! So many of them asked me for the website so they could go home and experiment with the technology. I think eyeplorer has wonderful possibilities in the classroom and can really help students see and understand connections and relationships. We know that connections between material help facilitate learning – which is the whole point of what we do each day! If you have a fun way to use eyeplorer in the classroom please share!