The first and most important type of comprehensible input for ELLs is visual. Concept mapping gives students a space to creatively represent their thinking and reasoning, and to visualize relationships among ideas.

For ELLs or anyone who may have difficulty with concept mapping, try these tips and strategies:

  • Do the Challenge with students. You connect two concepts on the concept map, then have volunteers come up one at a time to complete the rest.  
  • Watch a BrainPOP movie. Have students watch the Concept Mapping movie before doing the Challenge.
  • Practice all language domains. Concept mapping encourages students to interact with content using all four language domains: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Encourage them to write their ideas and read them, talk about their maps and listen to their peers. Students can work collaboratively on a concept map, creating opportunities for speaking and listening, or work individually, focusing on reading and writing.
  • Use Native Language. Support students’ use of native language. Making connections in their native languages helps students gain a deeper understanding of the featured concept.
  • Verify Terms in the Movie. The concepts featured in this Challenge task are from the associated BrainPOP topic, have students to refer back to the movie to verify terms.  
  • Pre-Teach Vocabulary. Pre-teach vocabulary and/or have students look up the meaning of words they don’t know, frontloading the vocabulary that  might be challenging.
  • Preview the Phrases. Before doing the Concept Web Challenge task, have students read the phrases in the Item Bank on the left side of the screen. Have them begin with ones they think they know. Encourage them to read the complete sentence. Does it make sense? Would any of the other labels make sense in that sentence? Have them do this one sentence at a time. Then when they’ve completed all the sentences, advise them to go through the whole map again and check if all the sentences make sense.
Filed as:  3-5, 6-8, 9-12
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