To kick off Ch. 1 of Willingham’s book, Why Don’t Students like School?, we started the conversation with an exploration of concept maps. We were asked to identify key concepts of Ch. 1 using a concept mapping tool that was given to us. The tool I was given was Mind42. While the tool itself looked appealing and organized text and images in a pleasant way, it was extremely difficult to navigate the tools within the site. My partner and I spent more time trying to get the text bubbles to appear and organize than actual time spent on reviewing the content of Ch. 1.
Our conversations that followed became extremely important regarding our experience. We were reminded that concept mapping helps free up working memory, it recycles our thinking and reinforces/creates schemas. In our experience, we were also reminded to build activities for our students that are achievable challenges–to make the activities rewarding when it comes to problem solving. Such activities are also useful because they may be UDL appropriate and open-ended for different learners in our classrooms.