Spotlight On Strategies articles

SOS: Read My Mind

A robust vocabulary is key to developing an understanding of any topic. Without language, we have no way to express what we understand, what we know, or how we feel. Many educational studies show that vocabulary development comes from reading a wide and varied range of texts, but there are instances in the classroom where we need to provide further opportunities for students to develop their language on a topic: when they are learning English as an additional language, when they find it difficult to retain information, or just because it is a completely new topic or concept. This strategy has been adapted from the board game Tension. It is a fun way to stretch students to develop their vocabulary and, in turn, boost their comprehension and their ability to express themselves clearly and meaningfully.

SOS: Z Chart

The Z Chart is a graphic organizer that helps students summarize information using linguistic and nonlinguistic representations. According to research done by Robert Marzano, “Psychologists believe that information is stored in memory in two ways: in words (linguistic) and in images (nonlinguistic).” Nonlinguistic representations can include visual images and organizers, auditory experiences, kinesthetic activities, videos, computer simulations, etc. Graphic organizers are one tool to help students make connections with and summarize information.

SOS: 3-2-1 Pyramid

In order to effectively summarize information, students must learn to analyze it at a deep level. The 3-2-1 pyramid organizer helps scaffold students in learning how to make decisions about what information is extraneous and can be deleted or substituted, and what information is critical and necessary to understanding the topic.

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