Category Archives: mind maps

New resources for mind maps, graphic organizers, and learning

After School Care Programs
I got a nice email yesterday from Veronica Taylor of After School Care Programs in El Paso County, Colorado. She wrote:

With school resuming, I’ve been putting together educational resources to help the kiddos. I’m always looking for new educational sites, and yours has been a big help! Thank you!

The summer volunteers have been involved as well, I’m letting them pick some of their favorite resources to include. Here’s one that I loved, too! It might be a good fit for your page…lots of info on various graphic organizers: Fostering Better Business Communication – Mind Maps & Graphic Organizers

I hope you like it!  Could you include it on your page with the other resources? I’d love to show our summer helpers that their work hasn’t gone unnoticed.

I appreciated her note very much, and I’ve added the link to my mind map page and graphic organizer page. It has 40 links to informational pages on mind maps and graphic organizers. Update, May 2, 2016: The latest version of the page is here, with fewer links – I suppose some of the original ones have disappeared.
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Veronica’s organization’s website has a wealth of educational resources, too, which inspired this blog post so I could highlight it. Subject areas include Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Health & Nutrition, each with 40 or 50 links. There’s no excuse for boredom or ignorance with a resource like this! Thank you, Veronica!

Getting linear

When you’re excited about something, you want to share that excitement with other people. But sometimes that comes across as “this is so great, you’ve got to try it!” which isn’t very compelling. Just because you’re excited about it, doesn’t mean that they will be.

I’ve had a hard time communicating why I think mind maps (and other visual tools) are so great. I just found something that helps me do that on the Knowledge Games blog. James Macanufo outlines a process for crafting a product elevator pitch. As he says, “The better and bigger the idea, the harder the pitch is to write.” This is just what I have been struggling with, so I decided to experiment with it, and found it worked really well for me.

Here’s what I learned as I worked through this process.

I tend to generalize, and see mind maps as a multipurpose tool that can be very helpful for almost anyone in many situations. This has made it hard for me to verbalize concrete descriptions of their benefits. This exercise helped me to focus on one beneficiary at a time and be specific about how they could benefit. I needed a tool like this to help me be more linear.

When I got down to crafting a single elevator pitch, I found that I thought of new and more specific ideas, that were more applicable, than the ones I’d initially brainstormed for each field.

I haven’t word-smithed these yet, or tested my results on friends or potential customers. But I feel I have something more concrete, that I will be able to communicate more succinctly, than I have had in the past. This increases my confidence and comfort level.

This came at a good time for me, and I plan to do the same exercise for some other products and services.

Elephant Egg 3


The third “Elephant Egg” night of pecha kucha style presentations was held at Moana Cafe last Tuesday night. It succeeded in sharing the presenters’ passions with the audience, and giving us some new ideas to think about. See photos on Maui Jeff’s blog.

(Click the mind map image above to view it in a readable size!)

Elephant Egg in Maui!


One night a couple weeks ago, I attended an event called “Elephant Egg,” held at Moana Cafe. Maggie Sutrov‘s invitation promised “Five Presentations by Five Inspiring People.” I recognized the format as pecha kucha, which I’d heard of but never experienced (20 slides shown for 20 seconds each, for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds). I was out of town at VizThink for their first event, so I made a point of going to this one. It was defnitely worthwhile!

There were five presentations:

  1. An outrigger canoe trip to Kure in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, by Peter Nice
  2. Photos from a trip to India near Nepal (above 15,000 feet!), by Daniel Sullivan
  3. Likability, by Bob Sommers
  4. Spiral Dynamics, by Ian Blakeslee
  5. The future of newspapers, by Maui News reporter Ilima Loomis

The format kept the presentations short and focused, and gave just enough information to be intriguing and open opportunities for questions. They’re planning to hold them every couple months, so the next one will probably be in late June.

Art history class 1 summary

Dick Nelson has started an 8-week art history class. We’re at the halfway point, and I’ve been reviewing my notes and starting to summarize them.

In our first meeting, we did two exercises designed to introduce some organizing principles and basic concepts that we’ll be working with and going into more depth on in coming weeks. We started by comparing two works by different artists in different periods – see this post. Then we played a game, matching works of art and architecture to their period, to learn “where” in time the periods occurred, and some classifying characteristics. See the game board and more details here.