Inspiration has become one of the most popular and useful programs for English students at CCSF. Its idea-mapping and outlining features can make the early brainstorming and organizational steps of essay writing much more clear and enjoyable. Some teachers even like to compose their assignments as an Inspiration template. Here are some Inspiration basics followed by an "idea map" of contexts and helpful websites, including Quicktime movies.
|Creating your own . . .||Using a template . . .|
|When you open Inspiration, a start-up bubble will appear. Click inside of it to type your topic or begin your brainstorming. If it helps, change the shape, color, or font.||If a template diagram/outline has not been created for your specific assignment, take advantage of the templates already built into the program. Go to File > Open Template > Language Arts OR Thinking Skills to find a good match. Remember, these can be altered to fit the specific assignment.|
|The "Create" button allows you to create new "bubbles" in any direction. This is great for planning an outline or essay, as well as mapping a reading assignment.||The "Persuasive Essay" template found in the Language Arts folder can be very useful since it pushes claims, reasons, evidence, and opposing views. The templates in "Thinking Skills" are also helpful due to their simplicity. NOTE: Teachers, try using Tools >Template Wizard to save work as a template since many students will share that diagram or outline. The template will be more stable than a regular Inspiration document.|
|"Rapid Fire"--look for the lightning bolt--is great for brainstorming and quickly popping out ideas related to a topic.||Click on the outline icon (top left corner) for an outline view of the diagram. You may be more comfortable using this view. Whatever is done in the outline will appear in the diagram, and whatever is done in the diagram view will appear in the outline.|
|The "Arrange" tool enables you to clean up your diagram. In fact, this screenshot shows an arranged version of the diagram above it.||One of the advantages of using the diagram view has to do with transferring an Inspiration document into Microsoft Word. Save your Inspiration file on the desktop or on a disk, and then hit the "Transfer" button (top-right) to convert it into a Word document. In Word, the diagram will be a picture--great for reference--and the outline will be in standard Word format. Save in both formats (.isf and .rtf or .doc), though, just in case you're using a computer with both programs.|
Contexts, Websites, and Movies