Teachers use a variety of ways to introduce a topic, gauge comprehension, review, assess and/or augment learning and so on. Let’s forget the debate about ‘correct’ labels – is this a teaching strategy or a learning strategy or is it a tactic or is it a classroom management tool or … – and just move on to what you can do as you help learners access new learning for the start of a unit/theme to the end. In the next few posts I will lay out a typical unit/theme study – targeting grades 6-8 but adaptaple for younger grades and certainly easy to extend for more sophisticated study beyond grade 8. I am choosing this middle ground as it allows more flexibiltiy and teaching can be less tied to particular subject areas. and more theme based across the curriculum. There are infinite extension possibilities….take it away all you creative teachers !!
The Class: Grade level class with a wide range of abilities and a generous sprinkling of addtional language learners [ELLs] who range in capacity from beginner to ‘consolidating’.
The Topic: Health and Nutrition
- What strategies should I use?
- What are some topics and ideas that would work for MY class.
What Strategies should I use?
Questions to ask and considerations:
- Is the strategy flexible? That is, can it be used for various purposes and at a various times during the unit of study?
- Can it work with a mixed ability group, including the most needy?
- Can I use it before/during/after ?
- Does it encourage thinking and discussion?
- Can it help with oral/reading/writing?
- Does it work for ME?
- Does it work for this particular class?
- Does it guide learners toward your learning goals for them – or those co-created with them?
- Is it cost-effective? That is, does the time it takes for me to learn how to use it, prepare all elements, etc, merit the results after completing the strategy with the class?
Given all the above, I encourage you to list your favorite strategies and rate them based on these parameters. It may be that you have a handful of favorites that have worked well and are right on target. OR it may indicate that there are some ‘gaps’ you would like to fill – ways to encourage more oral language, ways to review key vocabulary, etc.
Think on it and we shall continue in the next post which will consider potential topics for the theme study and begin the process, sharing my favorite strategies along the way.