Archive for the ‘How to’ Category

12
June

Easy morning routines that anybody can master

In everyday life, we are often required to be innovative and creative but in some areas, routine can be the thing that sets a difference.  

You might ask how successful people got where they are, and if you start looking for answers, you’ll find out that they have strong morning routines. This is important mainly because it gives you the chance to set the tone of your day. A good morning results in a good day, this way your productivity will increase and you will have the necessary energy you need throughout the day.

Great philosopher Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, is a habit.” And he was right. Let’s take for example a successful sportsman whose performance depends on practice. This means that he has to repeat the same move over and over again, until his muscles will remember it and it becomes an automatic action for the body, leaving space to the mind to focus on perfecting it.

Same thing happens with morning routines, they can be very soliciting until we get used to them, but in reality they are a chance to prevent the day from failure. We have some easy tips and tricks you might just want to turn into habits:

 

  1. Wake up early – it may sound corny but the early bird gets the worm. If you wake up earlier, you will have more time to do all the stuff you need to get done. Now, you don’t have to force yourself to wake up at dawn, but if you are a late riser, try at least to move forward the hour of waking up with 10 minutes. After you get used to it, move again with another 10 minutes and so on.

  2. Never skip breakfast – even cars need gas to function, so why would you expect your body to get you through the day without nourishment. Remember that breakfast is the most important meal of the day so kind to your system and give the necessary food.

  3. Small pieces of happiness – it’s not enough to feed your body, you need to feed your mind and soul too. Make time every morning to do something that makes you happy: sipping a cup of coffee in complete silence, watching inspirational videos, reading a few quotes, talking to your loved ones the phone, petting animals, whatever works for you.

  4. Exercise – The human body was designed for constant movement. Just think about our ancestors who didn’t have cars or supermarkets so they were walking a lot and they hunted for food. Unfortunately, nowadays we don’t move enough because we are prisoners of our own comfortable inventions. So knowing that your body needs a bit of help and motivation on the matter, try exercising on a daily basis, in your own limits: walk the dog,  stretch or run for 15 minutes. You will see that after making morning sport a habit, you won’t not be able to imagine your day without it.

  5. Plan the day – make a brief list of to dos, choose the most important thing and start with that. If you do the important job while you are still fresh and in shape, you will ease the pressure and manage to stay relaxed while dealing with the rest of the things.

 

All habits can be learned, it’s a matter of self-discipline. So the best thing you can do is to practice everyday until it becomes an automatism. What will be the first thing you’ll want to try?

5
September

Back 2 School Essentials – Collaboration


The world today relies more and more on people collaborating to solve various kinds of problems. In this context, across all grades and subjects, school culture should focus on modelling teachers’ and students’ collaborative problem-solving.

Collaborative planning for teachers

    Teachers collaborating on projects across subjects could be a good strategy to make learning relevant and engaging. Among the benefits:
    – leveraging resources, ideas, and learning opportunities
    – students make connections between subjects
    – teachers show they are aware of the importance of other classes
    – teachers are on the same page in terms of not assigning too much homework on any given night or scheduling tests on the same day

    Step 1. Find a collaboration partner

    Step 2. Get resources – if there aren’t internal grants available at your school, search for external grants and resources that meet the needs of your collaborative project.

    Step 3. Set up and develop the curriculum with your grade-level team

    Step 4. Use informal spaces for collaboration.

    Building student collaboration

      Kids need to learn to collaborate and appreciate what others are saying. They also need to learn how to push back if need be, be reflective about their own understanding and build approaches with other people.

      Step 1. Create a group-work problem – this should relate to a goal that’s difficult to accomplish alone, thus the reason for a group assignment. You can think of an element of discovery and curiosity, or try something that connects to a piece of literature.

       

      Step 2. Be flexible in forming groups – let students choose with whom they want to work with and just advise them on the strategy.

      Step 3. Establish student roles – for literature assignments you can assign several roles like the researcher, the facilitator, or the wordsmith role. You can also have the interpreter, the critic, the summarizer, the checker, the artist or the vocabulary helper roles. All in all, each student should have his own area of expertise so that the end result is rigorous and complete.

      Step 4. Individual and collective assessment – though the final result might be good, some students might not have contributed sufficiently. Or vice versa. You need to know exactly who did what in order to properly assess each group’s activity. Try to provide specific, timely feedback and to make it available to the entire group.

      Step5. Build comfort around speaking in front of the classroom – students need to practice public speaking, so set up a classroom debate. Give each group the possibility to explain their thinking process while completing the assignment, and to answer their colleagues’ questions.

      Collaborative teaching challenges teachers to provide diverse learning environments for their students. Collaborative learning means students will be working together to construct knowledge that did not exist before their collaboration. We’d love to hear if you have any plans or ideas on how to use the power of collaboration in your classes. Plus, if you need some tips on how Mindomo can help, we’re here to assist you.



      Keep it smart, simple and creative!
      The Mindomo Team

6
July

Concept mapping as an aid for ADD

ADD is a condition associated with learning and concentration difficulties. People suffering from ADD, usually children and teenagers, find it hard to focus on a task as their brains jump from one topic to another, restlessly.  This is why those suffering from this condition require special learning and teaching methods.

The mind mapping and concept mapping method is a simple way to capture our thoughts by visualization, without necessarily organizing or prioritizing them. This is very similar to how our minds work. In other words, mind maps could be perfect for those suffering from ADD as they encourage the mind to roam freely on a desired subject without boxing itself into constricting and tedious topics.

ADD is a very real and common disorder that affects 11% of schoolchildren and has risen 42% in the last 10 years. Still,  by taking the following steps, anyone suffering from ADD can learn something new the easy way:

Step 1. Identify major themes

One has to think of what is the most important piece of information, then put in the center of a mind map. As soon as one discovers other themes, he should place them around the center theme, leaving some space for detailed description and other information.

Step 2. Add some details

Depending on the structure of the information, one might have to use a different approach in collecting and segregating notes. If the information is already well organized and presented in a structured manner, it’s relatively easy to keep notes on particular subjects together. If the information is more disorganized (the lecturer conveys it this way or it comes from different sources), one might have to make quick notes and organize them later, perhaps by connecting them with lines or grouping them by subjects. Using keywords in large print with lots of space around is suggested.

Step 3. Find relationships

After collecting the notes, one has to sort them out and use colors to mark related topics. Also, connecting information to relevant subtopics using colored lines or arrows is advised.



Step 4. Re-sketching final map

In order to put all information into meaning, some items will have to be moved around. Consider introducing borders to make the whole image easier to read and to minimize confusion. Any technique that helps with data recollection should be used (funny representations, cartoon figures, videos etc.). Additional facts could be added at this point if one can recall them or after some relevant research on the topic.

It’s a proven fact that images are easier to recall than text, so we challenge people with ADD to give concept mapping a try. It will help them turn long lectures or voluminous information into something meaningful, easier to recall and explain to others.

Keep it smart, simple and creative!
The Mindomo Team

 

13
June

3-Step, Visual Approach To Solve Any Problem

You know you are facing a problem when you find yourself in a condition which is different than the desired one. If the problem is simple, then the solution is usually quite obvious. But when you’re facing a more complex issue, the card up your sleeve is to get in a problem-solving state of mind.

There is a saying that in order to understand a problem profoundly, you need to see the bigger picture. If this doesn’t come naturally at first, mind mapping will help you. Mind maps let you create visual databases, so you can see everything in one page – the root of your problem, its causes, on-the-spot ideas on how you can fix it, etc.

Let’s take an example: you have a travel agency that’s going through an image crisis. A quick and efficient way to do a problem diagnosis would be to create a mind map around these simple questions:

1 What is the real problem?

The first step is to clearly state the issue you are facing and identify what is real or true about it, as factually as it can be determined.

2 What is going on?  Why did this problem occur?

 This is the point where you start collecting and analyzing all the information you have about the problem. You need to determine if your problem is being influenced by your organization (structure) or a function (process). Also, you need to know exactly who are the people affected by the issue.

3 How to avoid the problem? How to ameliorate it? What actions will solve the problem?

This step is about solution planning. You have to evaluate the whole situation, point out all your alternatives, select the ones you’ll be implementing and prioritize them. Don’t forget to think of how you will determine if your actions made a difference or not.

Problems occur all the time, and no matter how small or big, the most important thing is for you to come up with imaginative and rather stress-free solutions. That’s  why problem solving is so looked for by universities and employers. If you want to develop or boost this important skill, mind mapping is always a good idea.

Keep it smart, simple and creative!
The Mindomo Team

20
May

Combine Concept Mapping and Task Mapping for The Ultimate Business Travel Plan

For a lot of us, going on a business trip is “double trouble”, partly because preparing for this is unlike preparing for a family trip and partly because you need to get in shape for business meetings and presentations. In both cases, being well-prepared is the key, and it will give you that sense of confidence of having things under control. And how to get organized the right way, you might ask? We’ll, there are two things you should definitely consider if you want a solid business travel plan.

Plan everything with time management in mind. This will make you focus on your trip’s priorities. Use concept maps for individual or even team brainstormings to put together all business-related to-dos.
 Start from the core – your business trip, and enumerate all the main points that you need to cover before and during the trip. As the goal is to keep the map as easy to follow as it can be, you can split the main points into different branches, giving different colours to personal and work-related stuff.  Add details in subtopics, like packing clothes, tickets, passport, and money. You can also connect related topics and label the connections to make everything more straightforward.
In the end, you’ll have all information, schedules and to-dos on the same page, yet clearly organized. It’s as quick and efficient as that.

Find a simple way to keep track of all your to-dos, up to the smallest detail. For example, our task maps let you create structured to-do lists, that you can share with your colleagues/employees/personal assistant. Each task from the list is assignable, and setting a deadline for it will help you monitor the progress. You can also give detailed instructions per each task in the comments section.  This way you and your team will know, at any given point, the status of your preparations, what’s left to be done, who needs to do it, and if you have to speed things up.

Planning with the aid of  concept maps or task maps is very simple, and it helps you keep everything in one place in an organized fashion: from objectives and  due dates, to schedules and locations. So, if you aim for stress-free, yet accurate business travel planning, Mindomo is a real helper.

 

Keep it smart, simple and creative!
The Mindomo Team