Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 2 - Bubbl.us

“Organizing is what you do before you do something,
so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” 
A.A. Milne

Graphic organizers support learning from brainstorming ideas to presenting findings and all phases in between.  These visual tools help learners in two essential ways: (1) processing information in chunks and (2) looking for connections between ideas. While some uses simply draw on reviewing concepts and demonstrating understanding, there are higher level uses that require students to analyze and create.  There is really no debate around the effectiveness of graphic organizers and you may already have students creating them using paper and pencil.  With technology comes a whole array of free web 2.0 tools that allow users to convert messy collections into meaningful displays that can be developed collaboratively, shared virtually or saved and inserted into another piece of work (and if absolutely necessary…printed out).  Today’s challenge will focus on bubbl.us


Bubbl.us includes a very well done Help section that can be accessed on the upper right of the screen.  My favorite resource "Editing" is under "Features by Topic."  There you get all the tricks for adding style to your bubbles.  After five years of development, the designers have done significant work to meet the users' needs.  Bubbl.us is Flash based so it is not compatible with the iPads.  The site works well with most web browsers, while I tend to favor Mozilla Firefox.  This is a free tool so don't be surprised that there is a restriction to owning three sheets at a time. I haven't found this to be a problem, but it's good to keep in mind for your students.

Your Assignment:
Do some investigating.  You can get started without even creating an account. Test out some of the features of bubbl.us and see if you aren't inclined to create an account so that you can save your sheets.  Perhaps you know of another free online brainstorming tool and can share your recommendation.  If you choose to do this for your post today, make sure you include the URL or link to the website and what features you like and why. 

We look forward to reading your comments on how you can integrate a graphic organizer activity into your instruction. How do you envision seeing students working with a tool like bubbl.us?  Will they collaborate or work independently?  You might share how you would get students started with a new tool like bubbl.us.  

Need more to get your gears rotating?  Rather than reinventing resources, I did a quick search of the web and pulled some of the best models and screencasts for you to draw inspiration from:

http://www.ashleysiegel.com/portfolio/BubblusHow-ToGuide.pdf   This handout made for students covers the basics for creating a Bubbl.us account, creating a concept map, and sharing that map with others.  It does include visuals from an older version of the tool. 

Here's one teacher's success story with bubbl.us http://www.classroom20.com/forum/topics/649749:Topic:7014

Wikis are a terrific tool for assembling information to benefit the collective whole and Teach Web 2.0 is one of my favorites.  Visit http://teachweb2.wikispaces.com/bubbl.us for a great collection of resources including a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threat (SWOT) Analysis of bubbl.us. 

68 comments:

  1. It is always good to organize your thoughts before you get started. While in Math, a 'web' is not usually the best way, unless you are trying to brainstorm an idea for a project. I am not sure if I would use this inside my classroom, but I am interested in reading what other Math teachers think and how they would use it.

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  2. As a math teacher, I could see me setting up my notes for class in a web form and allowing students to use this website to take notes in their own web. I could see the main topic in the middle with all the details branching off, with examples branching off those. I could even print out "fill in the blank" webs to help serve as a guide for taking notes in class. It would keep them more focused since they would need to fill in all the bubbles to have complete notes. I think I may offer this as a tool for my students for notes.

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  3. This looks great. I used webspiration a lot when it was free. (I think you need a subscription now) This looks like a good alternative. I think I may use it today to have my students graph the factors that led the United States to become an Imperialism power in the last 1800's. .

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  4. This is pretty cool...I haven't used this one before, but I like the fact that 1) learners don't have to create an account to use it and 2) the controls are VERY simple. I like using tangible organizers (foldables, specifically) but this would be a good group activity.
    Split the learners into small groups and let them create their own organizer to share with one another (they could post to their blogs, for example). Then, we could make a master or just post the different versions on a class website for universal access.

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  5. Just as clarification: in order to save your work, you do need an account; however, for a quick activity that can be completed in one sitting, students could just do a screenshot and save the final product that way. The netbooks have a snipping tool that works great for that.

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  6. My first inclination would be to use this to brainstorm ideas for writing. I love that the controls are simple enough for young learners to use and that the reminders of how to get another bubble are right there on the screen.

    I could also see this being used to analyze literary characters. Students could creat them independently or collaboratively. We have netbooks in every grade level K-6, and we are always on the lookout for ways to use Web 2.0 tools for our younger learners, too.

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  7. I think that I may use this for helping my tech crew get organized. I may even challenge the tech crew to use it the next time that they are getting ready to write a paper or do brainstorming in class.

    I used to use www.mywebspiration.com, which is the online version of Inspiration software. It used to be free, but now they have started charging for use. I am glad to see that some other free graphic organizer sites have been created. I am looking forward to hearing about other sites that people have had success using.

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  8. I think I might use this in my chemistry class for reviewing for a test. We are currently covering the history of the atom. Students could create different branches for each atomic model. Models that have things in common could be connected as well. This will better help students see the connection between the different versions of the atomic models throughout history.
    Cool!

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  9. Haha...my school has this website blocked. I have a strong dislike for the IT department!

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  10. I used bubbl.us this past summer when mapping out units for my lesson plans. It's very easy to use! I've forgotten about this resource! I had students earlier writing out concept maps on paper, but this would be a great way to incorporate technology. It would also help to make their concept maps easy to read and more organized.

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  11. I've enjoyed playing with this tool. I agree with Jon and Stacy that this is a great replacement for mywebspiration (at least on the visual organizer end). Here is my first bubbl.us: https://bubbl.us/?h=b581f/157014/74yVBXBckjFDk

    I see a lot of uses for this. One of the areas that I see the most potential for bubbl.us is in teaching critical thinking to our kids. At all ages we have a shared interest in helping students organize their thinking (and by extension, their communication).

    I know that several schools are looking at Compare/Contrast skills right now. This would be an excellent tool in terms of letting kids visually represent their ability to identify similarities and differences between objects, methods, ideas or philosophies.

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  12. Looks really interesting. We have been using graphic organizers with our inclusion kids because it is easier for them to see what they are going to be writing about. We have been using Webspiration and really liked the results we got, especially when our students could move and relink their topics in different ways as they saw the connections between their topics.

    Looking at this, I think I have to give it a try because it is more like the bubbles that many of our kids are used to. I like how it incorporates what they are familiar with.

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  13. It might be a neat tool to organize the daily agenda, especially in an 80 minute block. I could see myself using this tool to plan, but also to help show the students what the game plan is for the day. For math, I can see using it for organizing rules for fractions, decimals, and integers. We have been working on factor trees. My students might be interested in making one using this site, as well.

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  14. Graphic organizers are great tools for students to use when writing. I have found that using bubbles is not the best organizer for my students in 3-5 grade though. My students have an issue with "what now?". They get lost in adding new things and forget to organize what they are adding in a way that lends itself easily to writing a rough draft. I think my more advanced writers would work well with this and I will use it with them in the classroom. My other students do better with a more question and answer linear approach. I think it is a great tool though for older students.

    I am actually going to use this for a literature review that I am writing for a master's class. This could really help me see where I am going and I don't have to pick up a pencil.

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  15. Great visual tool for many uses! In the classroom I can see students visually representing something they have read in class,organizing ideas before writing, and taking class notes. I could also see using this tool to breakdown the workflow for behavior, office, or chain of command procedures. With an account you take the chart you've created and embed it on a website or blog too!

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  16. I'm with molly I'm going to use this as a reveiw tool for students to see connections in my algebra and trigonometry classes

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  17. I started to create one that I could use for relating math topics to students. Showing them the different types of math skills as head bubbles such as computation, measurement, etc... I'm sure there are infinite uses for this tool.

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  18. Easy to use and figure out. Without a doubt, the kids would be better at using than me. I think it would be interesting for students to use this when they are writing a research report. It only took a few seconds to set up an account. Since I'm not directly involved with instructing students, I see myself using this as a quick tech tip during a PLC or faculty meeting. Thanks so much for sharing. I love learning!

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  19. My class is doing a service project. Students are researching places in the tri-state that offer assitance to those in need. This site is a great tool to organize the research they find and catorgize the services offered.

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  20. Our 3rd grade is partically departmentalized. I can see the kids starting a organizer with me in science and then opening it back up in writing with their other teacher. What a great tool.

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  21. This is really a great tool. I have used other brainstorming software and websites but really think this one easier to use. I can see how this will be very useful in my coaching role with teachers as we work with common core. I can see how this will be very useful with other coaches as we plan professional development.

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  22. After experimenting with the site I have found that the possibilities are endless. This would be a wonderfgul addition to my ELA and Reading classes.

    I could use the stie to organize plans and notes for the students. The students could use this to gather and develop ideas while we are reading a novel or story. They could also organize their thoughts and ideas for essays and other projects. This site also offers the ability to start a project in one class and revisit the same project in another class where they may get other ideas and see things from a different perspective.

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  23. I think that this tool would be a way for students to see how different math concepts are related. I would probably have them work on this when reviewing for a test or organizing their thoughts for a project. It would also be a great vocabulary reivew if the words are similar or stem from one another.

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  24. If you are looking for a similar tool that offers a little more variety although you may be sacrificing ease of use, check out http://creately.com/ (You can explore this tool without creating an account.)

    Math teachers might like having the option of adding shapes and that the background is graph paper.

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  25. I could see using this tool to help students organize rules for fractions, decimals and integer operations was well. The visual display might make more sense to some students.

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  26. Great tool. I too have used others in the past but this one was very easy to navigate. I will definitely be using it in my classes as we talk about nutrition and healthy eating. I think it might actually be a cool way to rewrite recipes for labs...umh...have to give that some thought...the students could restructure their recipes in a way that made more sense to them.

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  27. I have used popplet.com for brainstorming with my classes. It works particularly well with the Promethean boards because you can write directly in the bubbles. It is also easy to import YouTube videos and photos.

    Bubbl looks like it is much simpler. You can get started immediately without the added step of creating an account.

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  28. This application would work well for some of the flow charts we produce(office of psychological services).

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  29. I could see myself using this with my 5th and 6th graders who are currently participating in the Stock Market Game. This is such an abstract concept for most of my students. There is so much background knowledge that needs to be built up before participating in the game. Bubbl.us would be a great tool to do some online brainstorming about the stock market to show students how it connects with real-world applications.

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  30. I can see using this to help our staff as we work with the common core standards. A web would allow teachers to see possibilities and options in a "picture" that might not seem as intimidating as pages of text might be. I like that it can be used with the Pro-boards.

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  31. I think this site could be useful for students/teachers if they are going to make some sort of concept web about a certain topic. They can use this website to continuously add ideas that go along with their topic. If it is saved other teachers/students could be able to pull it up on their computers and add even more.

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  32. I like the ease of use of the tool and made a couple of word trees in just a few minutes.

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  33. I like the ease of the tool and can think of several ways to use it right away. If I were still in the classroom, I would have students use it to prewrite for their essays or to make connections to the text in a more abstract way. I am going to use it to brainstorm my disseration map for the PhD program.

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  34. I used to also use the Inspiration tools. The SPCEd and little guys liked the organization help. I like the fact that this one is FREE :) and easy to use. I can see using this instead of the web bubbles they give us in our workbooks. I could also see for using in math to chart the flow process of a math problem. I like the fact that you could save and then open with another teacher if you were working like that, great idea.

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  35. @Mrs. Yarbor - I like that idea. So many times we see things in the light of how we would give it to kids, but we have things we do that could be improved with these same tools. After you said that, I was thinking of my pacing guide and how I could bubble the ideas together to show that the concepts I was teaching were connected to other concepts. And if I didn't have a connection, I would have to question why I was teaching it or if I was teaching it effectively so that it did start to connect to other ideas.

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  36. I bubble webs often when I taught science, but not as often now that I teach math. Maybe they would fit well with geometry topics: shapes, angles, or translations.

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  37. I have used this program before in my biology classes. Graphic organizers like this are easily integrated in science classes. I had my students create a graphic organizer based on the four types of macromolecules. We often use tangible organizers in class like foldables, but the students liked the web based program and felt it was easy to use.
    This is just one example as to why I like this program. I used this program before but had forgotten about it. The 30day challenge is a wonderful way to learn new tools and refresh your memory on tools you have forgotten about.

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  38. As an elementary art teacher I could use it on my Pboard and have the students connect the elements of design.

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  39. I could use this with reading and writing in my classroom. I use a basic web now for brainstorming. I think my students would like the change.

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  40. What a great free alternative to mywebspiration! As a special education teacher, this could be used to help students with special needs develop and gather ideas, organize thoughts, analyze and interpret information and clarify understanding. Achieving all of the above through paper and pencil tasks is often difficult, this type of medium could significantly improve student learning and engagement.

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  41. As a math teacher,I can see using this for problem solving skills. Students can set up and write the step by step process of how to solve the problem.

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  42. I am not sure how I feel about the tool itself yet. It was a little unnerving because it kept resizing. I think I need to play with it more so that I am not accidentally adding/deleting bubbles or resizing. However, as far as a graphic organizer goes, I tested it out mapping the concept of "culture." That was great! I could see teachers doing this as PD, and I could see students mapping this exact concept out in many ways. It could be used to talk about culture in social studies, English/LangArts, even science! It could be an activity that is done both individually and collectively: "I show you mine and you show me yours, and we can create new ground together."

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  43. This tool could easily be used to check background knowledge before a skill or topic is introduced, it could be used for review, it could be used to help students categorize, lots of uses.

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  44. I love using graphic organizers in my classes but I have never used this before. I showed it to some of my kids yesterday and they thought it was interesting. They liked it better than the traditional paper versions.

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  45. Bubbl.us seems like a great tool to keep all of us on the same page by oraganizing what we know. I could use this in a variety of ways, but I think the number one idea I had was for Oraganizing big chunks of information about Japanese culture.

    In my class we will touch on a culture topic many times through out the years of study. This would be great to use over the course of years to see what we have learned and what we can add what we have just learned to our collection. It would also be a good review tool or project for students.

    I tend to think that this would be a great tool to use in just about any class. With it getting the most use in English, science, or social studies. Can anyone else think of a way to use it in a world language classroom?

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  46. I can think of lots of uses for this one. I want to try it on the promethian board to see if it will work like I hope it will in front of a class!
    It will also be good for individuals in the computer lab.

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  47. I have a Girl Talk group. We brainstorm several different topics, each week. I think this would be a great place to record the ideas and print out information for the girls. Students love their new netbooks. This would be a way for them to use them during my group.

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  48. Wow, this program is very easy to use. I admit I had to play with it for awhile. I can see this tool being used in a variety of classrooms for a wide variety of reasons. The ease of use really makes it something that students of all ages and abilities could use. Too bad there is not an app for that.

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  49. I really like this program as well. I think it would be a fun way to web main ideas for a story they are reading or writing. It could also be used as a study guide. It has many ways to apply it that could make good use of technology.

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  50. This program could be helpful for my students that have difficulty getting their thoughts from their mind to the paper or keyboard. It can help organize their thoughts in a black and white way :)

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  51. I am totally stoked with this one. And it's FREE!!!!! Definitely going to be using this one with students.
    We will have BYOD next year (Feb) for our students, so it will be a challenge for some of them who are working on ipads, where there is no flash capability.

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  52. This seems to be a great brainstorming tool for both kids and adults. I can picture utilizing this to brainstorm for writing at the elementary level and also as a PD tool at the adult level.

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  53. I have had the students use another on-line graphic organizer. I like the adaptability of this tool, but I would need to spend some time getting comfortable with it before I could use it with students.

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  54. I had posted on this last week, but now I can't find it and your Google spreadsheet says I didn't post on it. I did try it out and created an account. Am I still ok to continue with the challenge?

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  55. @ Jolie, Yes Please continue! The Goal of the Challenge is intrinsic in nature. We hope to introduce many tools to you in hopes that you will find a use for several of them in your classes. As long as you complete each assignment before the final date of the challenge you are still eligible for the iPad 2.

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  56. I think this could be a great tool to use with students doing research projects. If they could access their own bubbl at home, they could begin brainstorming at home, have teachers check progress and let them know if they are on the right track and if they are ready to begin with a rough draft, etc. I think it would be necessary and valuable to first use it in instruction so the students experience how to work it and the features it offers before just jumping in. Graphic Organizers are a huge part of writing at the elementary stage as well as other comprehension areas.

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  57. I teach Web Design and my students use this site to create site maps for every new site they create. We used to use the chart feature in Word, but now the students can even do this step of the planning process at home with just the Internet! No excuses now:)

    A fellow teacher in the Biomedical Academy taught her students to use this site for cell structures. She showed her students how to pull the organizer into google docs during a class project...pretty cool stuff!

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  58. Graphic Organizers in science are something we discussed in the BLAST pd this summer. This is a great way for students to share what they already know or think they know, and to attempt to connect ideas that seem distant from each other.

    As time goes on, you can revisit your graphic organizers and rework them based on your new knowledge gained in class.

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  59. I really like this tool and actually used it last year when my co-teacher discovered it. Our students loved it and used it to map out a research project on what influences their generation. Kids were able to visualize their topic in a new way--they could identify their overall topic, add three points, then add their support. If they didn't have any bubbles off of one of the three main points, they knew they either needed a new topic or to do more research.

    I think it's a great way to organize thinking and is a neat tool for students to use when organizing their writing.

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  60. I can see using this as an alternative pre-writing activity. I typically use an outline, but this will give my students a very visual view of an essay.

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  61. I published a website under construction at

    http://harmonshelpfulheuristic.weebly.com

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  62. I have seen this before, and it is very kid friendly and less complicated to me than the Inspiration program I have used in the past. It has obvious uses in the English and reading classrooms, but I like all the ideas others are sharing on uses in other curriculum areas.

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  63. This is pretty cool. Since I travel and usually don't have access to technology for the kids I'm working with, I could really use this, but I would like to if I end up with a classroom one day!

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  64. This was really cool. I immediately thought of concept maps. It is so hard to know how much room or space to leave... this tool allows you to think and back track without making a messy handwritten map. I definite must use!

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  65. Very easy to use. I have used graphic organizers in the past to help students with factoring and other concepts. It could definitely be a resource to use for review of tests. It could possibly be used for organizing ideas when students are researching how concepts are used in the real world.

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  66. Very neat program. Thanks for sharing it. I do a lot of graphic organizers during the mole conversion and stoichiometry chapters. This seems like a way to teach technology while doing a graphic organizers. Students would then be able to use this within presentations as well.

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  67. Graphic organizers are a neat way to see how concepts connect to each other. For a unit, the students could see how key terms relate to each other. Also, it would be neat to have students connect concepts from one unit to the next. For example, the students could derive relationships between DNA replication to genetics. Also, you could have students try to connect concepts before a unit, and they could easily update it as we go through a unit.

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  68. I can't believe I have had my kids using Bubbl.us for several weeks because of the Challenge and I forgot to post to the blog.

    My students have used it multiple times during our writing assignments. They used it while they were creating their Latin America commercials. I told them they needed to make a story board for their commercial. One of the kids asked if their group could use Bubble.us. I was quite impressed and acted like it was my idea all along. :)

    It worked very well and in the end I gave them credit for their organizers.

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