Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cues, Questions and Advanced Organizers

Building background knowledge is an important step in the instructional process. Prior learning determines how we perceive new information so students need common foundations to build on. Cues and questions can be used to highlight key points and identify misconceptions. Purposeful questions can lead to a deeper understanding of the content and increased interest in the topic.

Advanced organizers help students focus on what is important and provide structure for learning. Organizers can be narratives students review or diagrams teachers provide to outline information. Students might receive a completed organizer to reference or be given a blank design to fill in during the lesson.

Word processing software is an obvious choice for narratives but let's look beyond the usual tools and consider creating brochures, posters, flyers, flashcards, etc. to share information in an attractive new format. Spreadsheet software simplifies the task of tallying rubric scores. Brainstorming software such as Kidspiration and Inspiration help can be utilized to present and expand background knowledge.

Video resources also offer innovative options for activating thinking and differentiating instruction. The class can view a related clip or students can visit designated websites to explore new topics. Virtual tours allow us to take advantage of global learning experiences without leaving the building.

Students can even work collaboratively to build and/or comment on shared organizers in an online format such as a wiki or shared document. Presentations can be created to compile multimedia resources related to the topic. Class and teacher created tools can be posted for easy access and frequent review.

How can technology help you prepare students for a successful learning experience?

Let's rethink the possibilities.

Based on content found in:
Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement written by Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane Pollock and Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works written by Howard Pilter, Elizabeth R. Hubbell, Matt Kuhn and Kim Malenoski

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