October 18, 2012

Text Mapping for Little Folks

An activity called text mapping seems to be all the rage on the education scene these days.  And while I do like the concept, I don't like the ink usage (I'm a complete tightwad) associated with copying book text and I think the concept might be a tad dry for little folks the age of my younger ones.  That said, I do want to teach prereading skills and I want the kids to learn to pull out the important points from a chunk of text and be able to identify the filler.  So the broad ideas behind text mapping are still quite appealing to me despite the young age of my kiddos.  So we adapted the concept to meet our needs.

We're studying the Napoleonic Era right now and I wanted to use Napoleon's life as our first go at pint-sized text mapping, Momma Skyla style.  I used PowerPoint, which for my purposes was preferable to Word because of the automatic landscape page layout and the ability to easily change the space taken up by text.  I wanted to leave the top half of each page as empty space for taking notes, defining mysterious vocabulary, and possibly rephrasing  the main points in their own words.

I copied text from the History Channel's page on Napoleon in 4 separate chunks, each occupying the bottom half of it's own PowerPoint slide, and then copied a picture on each slide that roughly corresponded with the text.  I don't know how your copy/print setup works, but when I print something, I can opt to use less ink by printing on fast draft, but if I were to copy a page from a book I would be stuck with max ink usage.  There's no fast draft for the copy machine function on my printer so I really don't love copying with ink as expensive as it is.  Granted, without book text, you can't have the kids mark titles, subtitles, and picture captions as indicated on the official textmapping project site.  Still, that's a lot of text for 6 year old eyes anyway and the ink!!!

The last step in preparing the text for mapping is to tape it all together such that you can unroll it scroll style.  Don't know how actually important that is, but we went with it.  I read one teacher talking about how her students were able to absorb info better when they could glance ahead in this long scroll of info and see how it fits into the big picture.  I'm not sure that applies to my age group, but it's something to bear in mind for later down the line.

I gave the kids instructions to tell me every time they heard a word they didn't know and we'd underline that in blue.  They also needed to tell me when they heard a sentence that they considered significant enough to be a main point and we'd underline that in pink.  I read the passages aloud and they stopped me to mark hard words and main points.

Afterwards, we went back to look up hard words.  Hunter and Haven took turns writing the words in the blank space at the top of the pages while Hannah Jane typed them into an electronic dictionary.

With vocabulary like this, I follow a sort of script.  We looked up military and defined it.  Then I asked questions with non-examples.  "So was he a great leader of a school?  A great leader of a city?  No!  He was a great leader of what?"  to which they all yell, "to an army!"  Then we replace the word with some form of its definition in the sentence.  For example, the sentence, "One of the greatest military leaders in history..." was rephrased, "One of the greatest armed forces leaders in history..."  This practice of replacing the word with the definition of the word is really helpful in vocabulary building.  That's our standard new vocab strategy and it seems to be pretty stinking effective.

This was kind of fun.  Also kind of long winded for the younger 2.  Still, they said they want to try it again, so it must have been a step up from just reading.  Right?  We'll probably break it up over the course of a week next time.  Tomorrow I'll take the kids, one at a time, and ask them to rephrase the topic sentences in their own words. and we'll use those reworded topic sentences as a basis for a biographical newspaper article on the life of Napoleon.

And that's our next family project.  A newspaper style documentation of the historical figures we come across this year.  Stay tuned for more on that!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Skyla,

    Thanks for letting me use your photo. Here's the doc: http://www.textmapping.org/whyUseScrolls.pdf

    If you like this short piece, please share it on social media, as well as with the teachers you know.


    - Dave
    Dave Middlebrook


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