Unit 1 - Graphics and the LD Classroom


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Check.gif Performance Objectives

  • Define concept map
  • Describe the benefits a concept map has in the LD Classroom
  • Examine content specific maps and their intended purpose

Check.gif Prerequisites

  • Comprehension of content knowledge

Check.gif Concept Maps

Concept maps are visual representations of organized knowledge. They require the learner to select and organize key details in relationship to one another. Concept maps allow learners to perceive information in a holistic manner.

Concept maps are incredibly flexible in nature, and can take many different forms. Maps can represent simple or complex ideas. While some display hierarchical relationships, others branch out to expand upon and connect content information. They can display concrete connections or be left open for interpretation. The possibilities are endless.

What do concept maps look like? Below are some common examples. Please use the back button to return to this page when done!

Concept Map: Media:ConceptMapExample.gif

Venn Diagram: Media:VenndiagramExample.jpg

KWL Chart: Media:KWLExample.jpg

Check.gif Benefits in the LD Classroom

The amount of information presented in today's classroom can be incredibly overwhelming for the LD student. In a study by Lenz et al., three main dilemmas arose when planning effective instruction for these students. First, they do not have the same learning background or experiences as their peers, and often struggle to determine which facts are important and which ones are not. Second, our instruction is not explicit and does not ensure student understanding. Lastly, we just don't have the time to plan and incorporate explicit instruction into our current classrooms. However, "the use of the curriculum mapping enhanced learning for students with LD". Why? Let's take a look!

  • Concept maps are visual!
    • They demonstrate key relationships within the content.
    • They allow students to take abstract ideas and make them more concrete.
    • Maps can help students visually process information for retention -- repeating information does not help clarify information.
  • Concept mapping is an active process!
    • Increases students attention to detail
    • Helps students identify missing information and developing patterns
    • Active discovery -- builds the "big picture"
    • Provides visual reference
  • Maps build critical thinking skills!
    • Helps students filter information for key ideas
    • Help student organize information.
    • Provides structure needed for understanding and retention.

Check.gif Integrating a Variety of Concept Maps in the LD Classroom

As previously mentioned, concept maps are incredibly flexible in nature and can take on many different forms. So the question now are: What kinds of concept maps are available? How will using the map assist the learner?

Analogy Graphic Organizer

  • "Analogies help students link new information to familiar concepts" using visual representations (Buehl, 2001)
  • Advantages:
    • Enhances student understanding using related concepts
    • Helps build connections to new material
  • Click for Blank Template: Media:Analogy.pdf

Brainstorming Prior Knowledge

  • Help activate students' prior knowledge about a concept
  • Advantages:
    • Anticipate what might be included in the content
    • Create opportunity for peer sharing and learning from one another
    • Allows teacher to identify and correct any misconceptions
    • Learner to able to guide their learning
  • No common structure -- See examples in Unit 2

Chapter Tour

  • Provide students with direction and guidance while reading -- keys them into important details
  • Advantages:
    • Students learn how to manage text
    • Conditions students to make predictions, then read to confirm/reject initial predictions
    • Guide to important details

Definition Map

  • Enriches students' understanding of a topic by focusing on key components of a definition
  • Advantages:
    • Expand their undehttp://tccl.rit.albany.edu/knilt/skins//common/images/button_media.pngrstanding of a word beyond simple definitions
    • Provides visual representations
    • Allows learner to integrate new knowledge with background knowledge
  • Click for Blank Template: Media:Definition.pdf

Different Perspectives

  • Broadens students' comprehension and appreciation of a topic by asking them to consider other ways of thinking
  • Advantages:
    • Reinforces conclusions and generalizations of a topic
    • Creates an emotional attachment and sense of empathy for differing perspectives
    • Asked to be selective when picking out key details
  • Click for Blank Template: Media:Different.pdf

Discussion Web

  • Great way to include all students in a class discussion
  • Advantages:
    • Students become active participants in discussion
    • Helps students evaluate both sides of an issue
  • Click for Blank Template: Media:Discussion.pdf

History Memory Bubble

  • Helps learners connect the information surrounding a given topic
  • Advantages:
    • Helps establish connections within the content
    • Look at concepts as a series of connecting variables rather than individual facts
  • Click for Blank Template: Media:History.pdf

Inquiry Chart

  • Illustrates the importance of connecting facts in the research process
  • Advantages:
    • Students become independent researchers
    • Guides student writing and helps focus writing
    • Encourages use of multiple sources
  • Click for Blank Template: Media:Inquiry.pdf

Pyramid Diagram

  • Allows learner to draw conclusions and make generalizations
  • Advantages:
    • Visual representation of the level of importance of facts
    • Direct selection of facts

Question Dissection

  • Helps analyze questions to better understand how to answer them
  • Advantages:
    • Learn exam terminology
    • Improve essay writing -- focused learning on connections in material not isolated facts
    • Encourage higher level thinking skills
  • Click for Blank Template: Media:Question1.pdf

Word Family Tree

  • Uses word origins to build and expand vocabulary
  • Advantages:
    • Expand their understanding of a word beyond simple definitions
    • Use of root words to notice connections amongst other words
  • Click for Blank Template: Media:Word.pdf

Click here for more samples

Newag.gif Learning Activities

By now, you should have a firm understanding of what a concept map is and the different kinds of maps available. Please take this time to complete the following activities.


  • According to Lenz, "the use of curriculum map enhanced learning for students with LD."(2007). After reviewing the sample maps, pick 3 maps you would like to incorporate into your lessons. Once you have chosen which maps you would like to tackle, write down a sample topic you would use to create the map. Remember, for this step you are only brainstorming ideas and writing them down.
  • Example: Word Family Tree - Evaporation

Learning Log

  • Take a few minutes to write down any thoughts or ideas you have learned. This is a chance for you to personally reflect upon the content and internalize the content.
  • Feel free to express any questions, comments, or concerns that you may have about the content. Possible ideas may include:
    • reflecting on the content
    • predicting results
    • personal opinions
    • summarize understanding
    • clarify points
    • record observations
    • compare and contrast how your ideas have changed or misconceptions that have been corrected

Proceed to Unit 2

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