Building on Prior Knowledge
This lesson uses graphic organizers to record the what students know, before and after a text is read. The text may be a story, an article or a textbook lesson, which is why it can be used across curriculum. Students will be building on prior knowledge of the subject, reflecting on what they learned in order to apply it to their life.
Enable students to
- build on what they know of the subject before reading
- gain knowledge that scaffold on prior understanding
- reflect on knowledge known and gained
- apply knowledge to life
Before students begin reading a book, story or lesson, have them fill out a graphic organizer on what they already know about the subject. (Click here for Prior Knowledge Graphic Organizer.) This organizer asks them to list what they already know from experience about the subject, what they assume about the subject and what they have heard about the subject. Clarify for the students the difference in each of these areas. (Experience is something a person has actually lived through; assumptions are what we think we know; what we have heard is information that comes from others [i.e., hearsay])
Students read the text given, making notes on words that they don't know and/or ideas that are confusing. The classroom teacher goes over these notes either individually or as a group.
After the students finish reading the text, they are given a second graphic organizer. This organizer helps them reflect on what they learned from the text, why the information is important, and how they might use that information in their own lives. (Click here for Post Knowledge Graphic Organizer.)
Allow students to share their thoughts and discuss them with their classmates. This can be done in small groups. Have a spokesperson from each group share with the entire class.