Many writers struggle with gathering, organising and sequencing their thoughts. Brainstorming tools are a great support for such writers and among my favourites is Popplet.
You can use Popplet Online (5 free mindmaps at any one time) for laptops or Popplet Lite (free) for iPads. Both operate in much the same way and are very easy for students to work out how to use. Popplet Online allows for inclusion of videos and images, but Popplet Lite only images. The full Popplet version for iPads includes video etc.
For either version, you begin by double clicking anywhere on the page to set up your first Popple.
I always think the popple looks like a bus, and on each of its wheels are tools that will allow you to add things to the page. There should be no need to teach these to kids - just get them to explore and they will find that they can:
|add graphics to the popple.|
|add or change text in the popple.|
|draw in or on the popple.|
|change the outline colour of that particular popple.|
Students can add popples for different aspects of their writing. For instance in a narrative they might brainstorm some of the plot elements, character features, interesting vocabulary and these popples can then be sequenced to form a plot outline to write to. See the example of the cat in Granny's knitting at the top of this page. You just drag the popples into the sequence you want, and if you like link these using the grey dots that surround each popple.
Across the top of the Popplet page there are other useful tools for them to explore - not hard to work out what they are for when you hover over or click on them.
Sharing your Popplet will enable you to get the link for sending to others or copy the embed code to add this to your blog or website. On some occasions however you may want to export the completed Popplet as a pdf or jpg e.g. to insert into a Google doc or Word processing document as the planning for the writing that will occur there.
Once you have exported the Popplet to a pdf or jpg you can then delete the original Popplet to make room for creating new ones - you can make as many as you like but only store up to 5 at any one time.