High on both common core standards and project based learning is the planning stage. Whether working independently or collaboratively, students need to learn the value of brainstorming, design, and preparation. Over the past couple years, Bubbl.Us has been a tried and true mind-mapping favorite with my students. It is a fairly basic template for text, with a folder system that allows for easy management on the teacher’s side. The webs can be embedded to student eportfolios. For a more sophisticated brainstorming tool, consider SpiderScribe. This tool allows students to add Google Maps, images and documents. Maps can be shared with other students. Both are free for educators and students.
CC Connection: The process of planning and making connections is essential in reading and writing. For example, students can identify a theme and connect supporting examples from the text; manage vocabulary; plan a writing project; collect information from a variety of sources; and prepare for collaboration.