When I first started teaching I loved to use cluster maps. I’d start with a circle on the board, make some branches, and have kids fill in various additions. After a while, the students’ messy handwriting and misshapen boxes pushed me away. It’s made a comeback in my classroom with a technological twist. (Pardon the misspelling of weapons)
Running PowerPoint, I used a wireless mouse to select various shapes for my cluster map. The wireless mouse allowed me to go anywhere, or set it down on a student’s desk so he could make a new box. Students then took turns at the computer typing in the different things we read about in our books. It kept several students occupied with hands on work at once and kept everyone engaged. The students copied down the chart in their notes, then color coded it for their homework. I posted the chart we made in class on my website for them to use as a reference. The material on it will be included on our test next week. Here’s a picture of what it looked like.