An Integrative Creative Approach to Curriculum Planning: The Mind Map

mind map01. – “Offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes”.  I recently learned a fun and creative process for designing curriculum that meets standards and outcomes.   As proof of my emerging ability to offer an organized curriculum, I am sharing a collaborative mind map that was the catalyst for designing a unit of study on Asia in my  Classroom Management (EDU 6130) course.  A cohort mate, who is a Montessori teacher, shared her process of creating mind maps as a way to integrate ideas for a unit of study.  Our group organized an interdisciplinary curriculum for a unit of study about Asia around the theme of rice.  With the graphic organizer (shown on the right) we were able to connect the subject of rice to lessons across all disciplines.  Then, we each thought of a lesson with a focus on 3 different core standards.  I designed a lesson that taught English Language Arts common core state standard (CCSS) K.3.  This standard challenges learners to sequence narrated events.  As part of a lesson to learn about the Thai dessert, mango with sticky rice, the kindergarteners would work in small groups to place picture cards in sequential order that show 5  steps of rice cooking .   This creative process of planning to teach with CCSS as an anchor makes a lot of sense to me.  I am a visual learner. Also, I like to preconceive how concepts connect on a multidisciplinary plane, then narrow my focus.  Next, I can begin to pull individual lessons that and integrate core standards and outcomes.  I can imagine the “buy-in” students would have if they collaborated with the teacher in the creation of a mind map as a way to start a new unit of study. With the help of some brilliant young minds, I hope to experiment with this child-emergent lesson planning strategy in the future.

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