Every Tuesday morning this term I’ve had a lovely time working with all 12 Primary 3s in a small school.

One child has significant dyslexic difficulties and we felt he would benefit from Mind Mapping as a tool to express his ideas, circumventing the barrier of print. It seemed daft to teach him alone so the whole class experienced the programme.

The Curriculum for Excellence outcomes around the class theme of Rivers were:

Organising and using information

  • I can select ideas and relevant information + organise these in a logical sequence LIT 1-26a

Creating Texts

  • I can convey information and share my opinions in different ways. LIT 1-28a/ LIT 1-29a

I had shown them the various components of the Mind Mapping software, Kidspiration: Open, Main Idea and sub-topics, Library (of pictures), Link Symbols, SuperGrouper – setting a background picture, Symbol Maker, changing font style and colour and changing the background colour. They spent several sessions playing, inventing fantastic fish, grouping various creatures that live on or by rivers in order to get to know what the software could do, etc. Some taught others how to import pictures from the internet.

They also explored WordTalk: installing, adding Heather’s Scottish voice, again altering the font and colours, listening to separate words, sentences and paragraphs, using the speaking spell check and synonym finder. I also showed them several MS Word shortcuts using the ‘Ctrl’ key.

They spent the final session mapping information from an article (The River’s Story ) on to Kidspiration. Identifying key concepts is a most difficult task but all these children managed it superbly well.

They then copied and pasted those key words and phrases into a mind map.

It was thrilling to see how successfully they manoeuvred between the 2 documents; how well they co-operated with each other in deciding which words and phrases were most important and how easily they manipulated the software to which they had only recently been introduced.

 But the greatest pleasure for me was this:

Makes it all worthwhile! (and they loved my shoes!!)