So, I’ve been thinking a lot about how students do or do not make good use of the processes we as teachers try to put in place for them. Since it’s summer, I have time to chat about this with the folks who just can’t stay away from school and end up on campus. This is one of the things I love about summer. Even though I now have to work all year, I am always getting to spend quality reflection time with other teachers.
Recently I have been talking with two colleagues in the math department. We have been talking about homework, effective study skills, making use of teacher time etc. In particular I was talking to @LisainPA about helping students see the process of preparation (for a test, for homework, for writing, for learning in general). We talked about how to impress upon students the impact of the decisions they student makes have the outcome. Of course, there are many students who understand this and act on it. However, for those who do not, what can we do to help them realize that they are in control of the situation? That their own actions, especially actions that happen significantly before any assessments, are the key stepping stones that create a path towards success? The conversation was going along, and I wondered if an infographic would be useful. I do love infographics. Then we agreed that really a flow chart was in order. I also love those silly flow charts for things like ‘should I keep or throw away this item of clothing’ or ‘is this hallowe’en costume appropriate’. Anyway I got excited to make some charts.
Then, I had to pick a web tool. Well, I didn’t want one of the true infographic tools because I was really after a flow chart. I usually use Easel.ly for infographic making. Moving on. I went through the following: Piktochart (again more infographic than flow chart) Lucidchart for Education, MindMeister, Coggle, and MindMup. They each have their strong points, but since I wanted to be able to have a more free form linking pattern than org chart layers, I went with Lucidchart. I spent quite a while thinking about all the steps of the writing process, which of course actually starts with reading. I made a large and elaborate chart and sent if off to Lisa for feedback. Again, summer is awesome because not only did Lisa and I have time to have the conversation, I had time to test the tools I wanted to use, make a beta version, and ask for feedback. Lisa had time to look over my chart thoroughly and send my several paragraphs of thoughts. One of the things that Lisa mentioned was that the chart was pretty massive. True enough. Also, it seemed like it might be too hard to get off on a not-successful path and never have a way back. Another good point.
With solid feedback in hand, I went back to my chart and broke in into two charts tentatively called ‘Preparing to Write’ and ‘Writing Process’. I have to say I am quite proud of my little charts.
First up, the preparing to write flow chart. I wanted to stress that much of the preparation for writing about a book is done in the reading and discussing phases.
Next, the actual writing. Here I wanted to stress the time and thought that needs to go into the planning as well as the need for real revision, not just spell-check.
For the moment, I am going to let them be. I will come back to them closer to the start of the year to see if I want to change anything.
Any comments so far?