"Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan."- Norman Vincent Peale


Activity Design: Student Planning
Designer(s): Tom Dodd
Subject / Course / Grade Level: All
Materials Needed:
- computers (written as 1:1 but could be done w up to 3 students:computer, if preferred)
- Kidspiration software
Activity Objective(s): The students will use Kidspiration software to create a visual thinking flow map of a common process.
Professional Practice Time: Student Planning Jan - Feb
Targeted Elements of PSI (please check any portions of or complete elements that are explicitly targeted in this activity)
  • Students pose their own question, problem, or challenge of interest
  • Students self-plan, direct, and assess the learning process with the support of staff
  • Students publicly document and reflect on their learning process at multiple intervals of the experience
  • Students reflect on the unintended learning outcomes of their experience
  • Students receive, reflect, and act upon continuous teacher and peer formative feedback
  • Students engage in self-assessment throughout the experience for the purpose of reviewing and revising their learning process
  • Student documentation, reflection and project artifacts are used to assist in self-monitoring progress toward student-generated learning goal(s)
  • Students complete steps of process in different order and at different times, sometimes skipping or repeating steps while learning how to persist and overcome challenges
  • Students work flexibly within the roles of teacher and learner, throughout the process
Notes / Strategies for Differentiation:
  • Ask a neighbor policy: students are encouraged to look around them and ask a neighbor if they see
  • something they want to do on their screen or if they cannot find a tool.
  • Some students may have less steps in their process
Summary of Activity: please provide enough detail to allow another teacher to try this activity in their own learning community
  • ​Students enter room and move chairs to presentation area near the starboard. Teacher identifies timeframe for the day: 1:20-1:50 computer lab, 1:50-2 library book exchange.
Teacher asks students to close their eyes and think of a task that involves steps: shooting a basketball, making mac and cheese, etc. Teacher asks students to "visualize" or see the steps in their head.
Eyes open, survey 3 students to see what they visualized.
Teacher shows examples of different visual maps using the elmo. Discusses each.
Teacher asks students to recall the Genius Day assignment.
Turn to the person next to you and see if you can recall the steps involved in that assignment. 1 minute.
Class generates some of the steps.
Teacher introduces Kidspiration and demonstrates creating and linking bubbles.
Students move to computers to create their own visual map of the process.
Monitor and instruct individual students as need arises.
Closure: with 3 minutes left in the class, students save and turn their chair around for closure discussion: what was it like, what was easy about the new Kidspiration program, what was hard? Homework: think of one new thing for which they can create a visual map to be discussed at the start of next class.


Pieces to consider:
  • With what assignments/lessons/units was this activity used?

  • At what point(s) were students provided time to brainstorm and/or plan their main steps? How did this impact their process?

  • What role did presearch play in the development of student plans?

  • What strategies did students use to anticipate their journey?

  • What medium did students use to document or record their process?

  • At what point(s) in the process did students reflect on and or revise their plan?

  • How did students identify their target audience, possible resources and anticipated obstacles?

  • How did students estimate the time needed to complete the project?
Student Work Samples:
  • Genius Slide (sample from Tom's class)
  • Screen shot 2014-04-02 at 9.29.46 AM.png

  • Insects (sample from Sara's class)
awInsects CM.gif
  • Early Michigan People (sample from Sara's class)
EarlyPeopleOfMichigan CM.gif
Tweaks, Modifications and Iterations:
please identify any adjustments you have or will make to this activity, based on teacher/student experience and/or feedback
  • .
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
- Benjamin Franklin