No – I’m not talking about the thinking and planning concept of mind mapping, although it is indeed a very useful tool at times.
It can provide a fascinating insight into children’s thinking, emotions and concepts of how and what they think they learn.
I know the end of term can often feel like a vortex of madness; trying to plan reasonably meaningful activities as you try to juggle all the things that still need to be done, start some initial planning for the autumn and deal with the immediacy of hot and fidgety children.
But where is the time for children to think and reflect on their own year in all this?
Why not create a calm space to let children draw a map of their mind. Let them choose whatever size of paper they want, use coloured pens etc. and merely stimulate them with some starter questions:
- Are there different areas in your mind? How many? Are they different shapes and sizes?
- Where do you keep your feelings? Are some feelings there all the time whilst some come and go? Which ones are more permanent?
- Memories? How does your mind keep memories – in pictures, film, words, both?
- Where are your special secret thoughts?
- Are bad thoughts and happy thoughts together or kept separately?
- Can you label all the different parts? Think about whether you want to draw your mind in different shapes, colours or symbols etc.
- Where do you keep the people in your life you think of the most?
- Where does learning happen? When does your mind know if it has learnt something?
- Can you label some of the most important things you’ve learnt this year?
You could do this in the staff room too – very revealing.
But it needs a safe, calm and tranquil space, which even in the melee that is the end of summer term is just about possible – and so worth it.