Grade Level: all
Skill Level: Easy/Beginners level
Common Core Standards: This app can be used to cover just about any standard.
iOS Device: iPod, iPhone, iPad
Cost: SimpleMind+ is free (for the version on the iPhone, iPod, and iPad). SimpleMind (full version) is $6.99. Also, there is a desktop version of the software that can be purchased for your computer. You do not need to purchase the desktop version to use this app effectively in the classroom (I have not purchased this).
SimpleMind+ is a mind mapping app. If your school site is using the Thinking Maps program, SimpleMind+ creates a “bubble map.” This creative app can be integrated in every academic area from language arts, to math, to social studies and science.
Students are able to easily save their map creations within the app so they can refer back to their maps later. However, they are disappointed when they can’t print their maps. While I am not a huge advocate for printing all student creations (we are trying to save some trees by using iPods), students can take a screen shot (to make a screen shot simply hold down the home key and the sleep button at the same time) of their map, save it to their camera roll, then email it to you.
I have used this map in my classroom mostly in the area of writing. As a prewriting activity, my second graders can create a mind map about their writing topic. However, this app is easily adaptable for any academic area. Here are some examples of what you can do with this app:
- Describe a character from a story.
- Describe the setting of a story.
- Describe the events of a story.
- Create a map of facts gathered from reading an expository text.
- Vocabulary development: write the vocabulary word in the middle and branch out with the meaning, parts of speech, synonym, antonym, and use it in a sentence.
- Create a map of a phonics skill (such as words that have ow or ou, etc.).
- Brainstorm details for your writing topic.
- Create a mind map of alternative words for words that are used too often (like good, fun, etc.).
- Create maps of the topics of study.
- Create maps using science and social studies vocabulary.
- Create a mind map of math vocabulary.
- Use to describe shapes.
- Create a map that shows the key words for problem solving.
For the purpose of the classroom you can easily use the free version, SimpleMind+. If you want to be able to have more control with the editing features such as color choice and linking maps together, then the paid version would be better for you. I would love for the app developers of this software to add a feature that allows you to insert pictures into the mind maps.
I hope you enjoy using this app creatively in your classroom! Please share with me any other ways you can use this app with your class. Thank you!