Unit 3 - Implementing Concept Maps in the LD Classroom


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Check.gif Performance Objectives

  • Identify ways to implement concept mapping in the LD classroom
  • Selecting appropriate content for concept mapping
  • Create interactive lessons that include concept mapping
  • Model the mapping process to enable student to create their own maps

Check.gif Prerequisites

  • Content knowledge
  • Understanding of concept mapping
  • Lesson Planning and Assessment

Check.gif Ways to Use Concept Maps in the LD Classroom

Concept maps are "a versatile teaching tool that can be used to present and reinforce content or assess its understanding." (Wayne State College, 1999). Therefore, there are several ways to incorporate concept maps into your lessons. Below are several examples of how you can integrate mapping into your current lessons. How will you use them?

Lecturing Enhancement

  • Great for modeling the mapping process
  • Students can actively participate in the lesson
  • More effective than traditional notes

In Class Exercise

  • Active assignment
  • Encourages metacognitve skills, not rote memorization
  • Great for providing blank or incomplete maps -- aid in student creation

Group Activity

  • Learning is social
  • Students work toward a common goal

Text Enhancement

  • Reading for a purpose
  • Aids student in selecting important detail


  • Demonstrates student knowledge
  • Can replace an exam
  • Accurate way to measure quality of student knowledge

Check.gif Tips When Using Maps in the LD Classroom

In today's classroom, we require our students to select and organize key details from several different media. This is an incredible task to ask of any student, but most importantly the the LD child. Concept mapping encourage students to actively participate in the learning process by using critical thinking skills to complete this task. For the LD child, this process does not come naturally, it must be taught! But how can I change what I am already doing?

Map progressively

  • Start by "familiarizing students with the technique by showing them a completed map and then progressively increase their involvement" (Wayne State College, 1999)
  • Blank templates can help students understand what is expected of them

Model, model, model

  • Mapping is a complex process for the LD student
  • Practicing this skill will help reduce student frustration and increase mapping success
  • Become a routine process

Less is more!

  • Connections are less visible
  • Excessive amounts of information can lead to decrease understanding

Instructor vs Student Mapping

  • Instructor maps help model and display information
  • Student maps increase comprehension and ability to make meaningful connections to the material
  • Instructor models first, student creates their own map second
    • Increases student role in learning
    • Decreases student frustration

Newag.gif Learning Activities

As of now, you should have a firm understanding how to create and apply concept maps in the LD classroom. We have reviewed key tips and ideas that will aid and assist you in creating effective lessons that incorporate concept maps. Please take this time to complete the following activities.

Lesson Creation

  • According to Lenz "findings indicate that teacher time spent in selecting the critical information, showing students how that information can be structured, and visually tracking the question-answer process around critical information can improve performance of students with LD" (2009). From here, students will be able to improve their concept mapping skills and comprehension of the material. Now it is time to construct a lesson that emphasizes effective concept mapping skills.
  • Select one of the maps created in Unit 2
    • Create a lesson plan surrounding this map. Include the following elements:
      • Teacher modeling
      • Student Creation
      • Assessment of Map -- Rubric, Guideline, etc.

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 an questions, comments, or concerns 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

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