Friday, May 30, 2014

Free Friday: Popplet

Thinking maps, graphic organizers, lists, diagrams....these are all tools we utilize on a daily basis to help our students organize their thoughts, knowledge, and questions. Most teachers commonly use paper copies of these structures or hand draw them on the board, but Popplet is a tool that expands possibilities in the realm of brainstorming, sequencing, and mapping with young learners.

Retrieved from
Popplet is an online resource that is also available as an iOS application for iPad (Popplet Lite). It is a tool that allows you to create maps and diagrams using a series of squares (popples) and lines. All objects can be customized to meet the desired size, color, and angle you choose. The purpose and shape of popplet is determined by how you arrange popples into groups, sequences, or other relevant structures.

Each popple can also have comments attached to it. This might serve to keep a tally count of repetitions of an idea or a simple explanation to signify it's importance. You might use this space to include a definition of a new word or a list of synonyms, as well. The possibilities of popplet within the classroom are endless. To help illustrate this point, I have made a list of ideas below.

Independent Student Work
- create a timeline
- describe the beginning, middle, end, characters, and setting of a story
- brainstorm topics to write about based on a broad category (emotions, places, etc.)

Whole Group Instruction
- chart what students know, want to know, and have learned
- plan possible topics for writing, reading, etc.
- brainstorm ways to solve a problem
- sequence/organize a set of multi-set directions
- make predictions about an event
- reflect on an activity

The ISTE Standards state that students should be able to communicate information and ideas effectively using a variety of media and format, as well as collaborate with peers using a variety of digital environments and media. Popplet is a great free resource that allows you to easily provide young learners with these experiences and preserve your creations for future class sessions or activities.