Activate Prior Knowledge

An important feature of many lessons is activating the prior knowledge students have. It is crucial that students  have both the ability to recall information they already possess and to integrate that knowledge with the new material.

Real Lesson Example

This unit focuses on the ways in which images send messages to viewers. Take a look at the image below. Fill in the "K" column of the attached KWL guide according to what you know about this picture. In the "W" column, list elements you want to know about the image. Please be ready to share your responses with the group. You will fill in the "L" column after our discussion.

Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange

-Anticipation guides such as the attached K-W-L Note Guide (below) are great in a few ways: they help students recollect prior knowledge of the subject, organize their thoughts, articulate gray areas, and take notes on new material. Students can type  in their responses, or they can print and hand-write their notes. This document can also be worked on collaboratively in class. Another option is to have students collaborate outside of class in real time using home or lab computers and Google Docs technology.
-Image hunts are quick and easy ways to activate knowledge. Have students do a quick Google image search for an image related to the topic of a previous lesson. They can share these images with partners, in groups, or with the class. You can also use LAN school to project images to the whole class or to each students' computer for closer study.

-Revisit your activator throughout the lesson or unit. Have students reflect on their changing interpretation/understanding of your topic.
Nora Villarreal,
Jan 7, 2012, 11:48 AM