Studying the lives and choices of historical ?gures and literary characters adds depth to understanding of content and helps develop empathy. This activity helps students better understand a particular person or character, by creating a road map of key events in his or her life and analyzing how those events contributed to choices made. This strategy can be used as part of a research project, as a way to review previously studied material, or as an assessment tool.
Providing students an opportunity to think critically and ask higher-level questions of each other in a fun environment leads to a more engaged classroom. “When students formulate questions, they become actively involved in learning.” (Marzano) Using Hot Potato while posing questions pertaining to a Discovery Education resource makes this difficult skill more engaging and less threatening. Students play in teams and use a soft ball to bounce questions back and forth while earning points based on the level of complexity.
The Connect-Extend-Challenge routine is part of the Visible Thinking approach, developed at Harvard’s Project Zero. This routine guides students to use their background knowledge, identify new learning, and think about how that new knowledge challenges or puzzles them.
Save the Last Word for Me is a discussion strategy that requires all students to participate as active speakers and listeners. Its clearly de?ned structure helps shy students share their ideas and ensures that frequent speakers practice being quiet. It can be used as a way to help students debrief a video or reading passage.
Deep and rich vocabulary knowledge requires more than just memorizing a list of words. In this strategy, based on the work of Dorothy Frayer, students dive deeply into vocabulary words related to topics they are studying.
Fountas and Pinnell state “the reader constructs unique meaning through integrating background knowledge, emotions, attitudes, and expectations with the meaning the writer expresses.” In this strategy, after reading a selection, students will discuss the topic in a small group. This strategy will assist students in connecting what they have read to what they already know. By providing students the opportunity to discuss the selection with their peers, teachers help students form a deeper understanding of the text.
This strategy encourages students to become more aware of mathematics that they encounter in their daily lives. Students become engaged in listening and watching for numbers in a pre-selected video segment and then use those numbers to generate word problems for math.
Students need to develop higher-level thinking skills and appropriate ways to debate their answers. This strategy provides a structure that helps students frame their experience with a piece of media, think about the implications, take a position, and then debate a point-of-view with students in opposition.
The National Reading Council recommends that students receive explicit instruction in the application of multi-strategy methods, because they are highly effective in enhancing understanding. This strategy gets students engaged in using the meanings and colors of road signs to synthesize what they learned from a particular video. Students then explain their understanding by creating PowerPoint or Google Slide presentations from the templates provided.
Students are often more engaged in a text if they know something about the content or context. This is especially true when the text is delivered via audio, as with a speech or story. This strategy introduces students to printed quotes from a speech before they listen to the entire audio version, allowing them to build familiarity with the content first.