Think. Pair. Share
Students are given time to think about their answer before they say it out loud. They can think to themselves or write their thoughts down (Think). Next, they get together with one or two other students and discuss each of their answers (Pair). Lastly, students share their answers in a class discussion (Share).
Author Says, I say
Students take sentences or sections from a reading and compare the authors words to their own thoughts. Teachers may also ask a question and have students find the evidence in the text and create a two column paper with what the author says and what they think.
Exit Cards can be used at the end of a lesson or at the end of the day. Students write a short summary of what they have learned and are are required to think back on the material to figure out what they understand. For teachers, this strategy is a time saver because it can be used as an informal assessment of where students are at and what they understand.
R.A.F.T. stands for Role, Audience, Format, and Topic. When students write a RAFT, they are given the Role, Audience, Format, and Topic and create a piece according to the directions. A teacher discussing the environment may prompt her students to create a R.A.F.T. with the following directions: Role: Writer; Audience: West Michigan; Format: News Article; Topic: How to decrease the amount of pollution.
KWL stands for know/want to know/learned. Giving these questions or this worksheet to students at the beginning of a unit or a specific lesson is a great way to measure where students are at. This can also be used for an anticipatory set with a reading, video, or picture. In this case, students would write down what they see or know about something they see and then what they are wondering. Then, after instruction or clarification, students would fill in what they learned.
Text Rendering can involve the same reading or different readings for groups of students. This is a useful strategy for getting students to summarize a lot of information into a sentence, a phrase, and finally, one word. Step-by-step for Text Rendering found here.
Triangle, Square, Circle
This activity is quite useful for the ending of lesson. Students take out a sheet of scrap paper and draw three triangles, one square, and one circle. The triangles stand for information that was new to the student that day. The square is something heard or seen in class that "squared away" with previous knowledge. The circle is for a question that still remains for the student. Video for more information: Triangle, Square, Circle.
10 X 10
10 X 10 is a simple way to incorporate art into Social Studies instruction. A teacher could put up art that deals with westward expansion, for example: the manifest destiny photo on the left, and ask students to write ten (10) things they see in the photo and then ten (10) things the are wondering/have questions about. Hopefully, the teacher will take these questions and make sure to address them in the upcoming lesson.
I Have. Who Has?
This is a fast-paced, engaging vocabulary activity. Students are given one (1) to three (3) cards that have "I have ________" and "Who has_________?" Just as in the picture to the left, for a geography unit, the first card could read "A landform that is surrounded on only three sides by water." The student who has a card that reads "Peninsula" on top would say: "I have Peninsula. Who has a landform with water all around it?" The student who has "Island" would now stand up, and so on. Students are quickly standing up and down, listening to definitions, and figuring out what terms go to which definitions. The activity ends when all "I have. Who has" cards have been read.
This happens to be one of my favorite strategies. In groups of any size (or even a whole classroom) students are given different readings. The readings could be about the same topic and include different genres, the same topic and be from different points of views, or even various works from the same time period, for example. Students read their text and explain it to others who did not read the same thing that they did. This strategy empowers students because they become the experts, the teachers of the topic they read about. More information can be found at jigsaw.org.
Generally, literature circles have groups of 4 students that each are given different jobs. Four possible jobs include discussion director, summarizer, connector, and illustrator. Each time literature circles are done, student jobs are rotated around the group so one student does not always get the same job. This resource is a sample job worksheet for students when they are first starting out with literature cirlces.
This is a front-loading technique. Students build prior knowledge of the structure of the text before they begin reading the material. They are encouraged to browse timelines, graphs, pictures, maps, glossaries, headings, subtitles, etc. to get an idea of the text.
Alphabet Brainstorming is a wonderful way for students to gauge what they know about a given topic before a lesson begins and see how they build on their knowledge throughout instruction and activities. Students are given a page with all 26 letters and they write the words they know that relate to a topic that the teacher announces. An example for economics would be: A - "assets"; B - "bank"; I - "interest"; M - "money". By the end of a lesson, students will be able to fill in terms for each letter of the alphabet.
Foldables® (created by Dinah Zike) are three-dimensional graphic organizers that let teachers stay away from plain vocabulary or content worksheets. Foldables are a great way to organize information in visual ways that students will actually want to keep! More information can be found here: Foldable Folds.
For a few minutes, students write anything and everything they can think of. Although structure is useful in many writing activities, spilling everything that comes to mind is beneficial, too, for summarizing what you learned or for brainstorming ideas. Structure can come later when using this strategy. Students free write at the beginning of class or at the end of a lesson and teachers can use the writing as a quick assessment of where the class is at.
Line Up Review
Choose a few questions to go over at the beginning of class or after a reading. Students split into two groups (count them of as a 1 or a 2) and have them line up facing each other so that every student has a partner. For the first question, students discuss with the person in front of them. Then, one line shifts to the right by two students. For each new questions, the same process continues. This is a fun way to get students up out of their seats and talking to each other.
Thinking Maps are another organizational technique for students to make sense of the information they have learned. Each map gets students thinking in a different way. Bubble maps are centered around one concept, for example, and the bridge map is focused on analogies. The tree map (as seen in the picture on the left) could be used for the three branches of government. "Branches of Government" would be the title. The three categories would be "Exectutive," "Judicial," and "Legistlative" and the responsibilities of each category could go under in the form of lists. More information can be found here: Thinking Maps.
QAR stands for "Question-Answer Relationship." There are four (4) types of question-answer relationships: Right There, Think and Search, On My Own, and Author and You. Right There is the simplest question type and Author and You is the hardest. Right There (in the book) is an answer that is general factual information that can be directly located in the text. Think and Search (in the book) includes answers that are spread throughout the text but can still be directly located. On My Own (own opinion) is an answer that involves students' opinions; they are to apply information to their own lives. With Author and You (own opinion) students bring their own thinking and deductive reasoning to the author's words. More information can be found here: Reading with QAR and QAR Social Studies Slideshow
All images retrieved from Google Images