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Four Corners and Anticipation Guides:
Both of these techniques “activate schema” by asking students to react in some way to a series of controversial statements about a topic they are about to study. In Four Corners, students move around the room to show their degree of agreement or disagreement with various statements — about, for instance, the health risks of tanning, or the purpose of college, or dystopian teen literature. An anticipation guide does the same thing, though generally students simply react in writing to a list of statements on a handout. In this warm-up to a lesson on some of the controversies currently raging over school reform, students can use the statements we provide in either of these ways.
A rich way to build background on a topic at the beginning of a unit (or showcase learning at the end), Gallery Walks for this purpose are usually teacher-created collections of images, articles, maps, quotations, graphs and other written and visual texts that can immerse students in information about a broad subject. Students circulate through the gallery, reading, writing and talking about what they see.
- Making Text-to-Text/Text-to-Self/Text-to-World connections
- Charting Debatable Issues
- Listing Facts/Questions/Responses
- Identifying Cause and Effect
- Supporting Opinions With Facts
- Tracking The Five W’s and an H
- Identifying Multiple Points of View
- Identifying a Problem and Solution
- Comparing With a Venn Diagram
Almost any student can find a “way in” with this strategy, which involves reacting to a text by creating one page that shows an illustration, question and quote that sum up some key aspect of what a student learned.
Invite students to choose significant words, phrases or whole sentences from a text or texts to read aloud in random fashion, without explanation. Though this may sound pointless until you try it, it is an excellent way for students to “hear” some of the high points or themes of a text emerge, and has the added benefit of being an activity any reader can participate in easily.
Have students create illustrations for texts they’re reading, either in the margins as they go along, or after they’ve finished. The point of the exercise is not, of course, to create beautiful drawings, but to help them understand and retain the information they learn.
yonoask1 on 2012-08-02Update | Feb. 2012: We'll be exploring the new Common Core State Standards, and how teaching with The Times can address them, through a series of blog posts. You can find them all here, tagged "the NYT and the CCSS."
roedigerac on 2012-08-02A good list of reading strategies for informational text from the New York Times.