Blog of Mr C

Educational ICT links and musings….

Collaborative revision using a mind map

After seeing this post on lifehacker and also Steve’s post I thought I would give a go.

My form have exams soon so I introduced them to mindmeister a couple of days ago and a few have them have got together to create a revision mind map.  It seems to work very well as a collaborative tool and the map can be found here.


May 18, 2007 Posted by | Thinking Skills, web2.0 | 2 Comments


Another great starter. I’ve used this in three ways;

  1. projected on the board with me typing and the class shouting out answers
  2. each pupil signed in individually
  3. playing as a team

A new game starts every 3 minutes or so and you get to play against loads of other people on the web. The kids love it and its a great way to warm up the brain before a lesson.

December 7, 2006 Posted by | ICT, starters, Thinking Skills | 6 Comments

A consonant please Carol…

countdown.gifSteve brought this great countdown website to my attention through delicious and I use it regulalry as a starter activity in conjunction with my mini-whiteboards. It really gets the grey matter ticking over and the majority of pupils love it. I’m just wondering if anybody makes use of any other gems out there and would like to share them…..

November 7, 2006 Posted by | resources, starters, Thinking Skills | 1 Comment

Experienced a Thunk lately?

Last Friday, the staff of Shrewsbury High School enjoyed a thought provoking, stimulating and entertaining training day delivered by Ian Gilbert of Independent Thinking Ltd.  I thought I had better jot down a few things before I forget – it’s a bit random but here goes;

  1. Pre-starter starters
    • This focuses on the whole idea of limbering up the brain before starting any work.  In the same way you would stretch muscles before exercise the brain needs a gentle wake up before getting used.  Pre-starters should have no right or wrong answer but should be simple, low-stress and fun.  How many words can you make from another word, one thing I didn’t know before about bonsai trees….
  2. “It’s better to seek forgiveness than to ask for permission.”
    • A quote from Tom Peters, business guru – let’s be a bit more adventurous with what we do in the classroom.
  3. Don’t spoon feed, use the 4Bs.
    • When they are stuck, encourage pupils to use their Brain, their Book (or web), their Buddy and then the Boss.
  4. Following on from that, “Intelligence is what you use when you don’t know what to do”.  In response to the question, how do you distinguish between all the A grade candidates?, an Oxford admissions tutor replied, “simple, I ask them a question they haven’t been asked before”.
  5. Some pupils may think better while doodling or fidgeting
    • how many times have I taken what I think are distractions away from pupils so they can concentrate.  A fine line this one, it will take some time to work out who is being distracted and who is not.
  6. As energy levels dip in the middle of a lesson, have a two minute break with maybe some brain gym exercises.
    • Good old rubbing stomach / patting head
    • left hand chopping, right hand sawing
    • right thumb tracing infinity left thumb writing your name (in the air)
    • right hand drawing numbers 1-10, left hand drawing letters a-j
    •  writing where you went on holiday
  7. Use stories to remember things.
    • If a concept has 8 points, make up a story to incorporate those 8 points.
  8. Choices – give pupils a ‘sense’ of being in control.
    • Choose one of these five questions to answer
    • This is what we need to cover today, what do you want to do first?
    • Do one question from each section
    • From these ten questions, identify the 2 hardest and the 2 easiest
  9. Thunks – questions that make your brain hurt and encourage independent thinking.  A whole list of these can be found here, but here are some we grappled with;
    • What is a tree?
    • Is a broken down car parked?
    • Is there more future than past?
  10. “A leader is a dealer in hope” – Napoleon, at the end of the day, a pupil who may not be able to achieve high academic grades can still have hope of succeeding if they are able to think for themselves.

I would highly recommend Ian – he came up with plenty of relevant and practical suggestions which I will try and use next time I am in a classroom, moreover, he made us all laugh – just what teachers need for a training day at the end of term.

October 26, 2006 Posted by | Thinking Skills | 4 Comments