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Organising your ideas

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Last updated by Jill Hammonds

Popplet for basic words etc.

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.

Start Popplet

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 add graphics to the popple.
Text change add or change text in the popple.
Popple colour draw in or on the popple.
Change Popple colour 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.

Drag to join 
Drag the grey circle to the next 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.

Other tools Background colour change Share

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.

Export as pdf or jpg

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.

Other brainstorming tools include:
Bubbl.us (free)
CMap Tools download (free)
Mindmeister (free trial only)
InspirationKidspirationMy Webspiration (30 day free trial only)