HUSL--Help oUr Students Learn

A place for teachers to place strategies that help our students become effective learners. * Does being an effective student mean being an effective READER? * Setting Purpose * Signals of confusion in reading

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Use Background Knowledge
Students often forget that they have a lot of information already stored away. Making connections to what they already know makes learning a new concept easier.
Purpose: Students reflect on what they already know about a task or topic so that it is easier to learn and understand new information. The strategy helps them see the connection between what they know and what they are learning.
Language Arts – The Lord of the Flies – Goal: Identify themes of the novel.
Ask the class to imagine themselves as a group of students who has taken over Arapahoe; there are no adults and they have no access to anything outside of the school. What do you think would happen? Students would use knowledge of their peer group to determine what might happen and how they would create a hierarchy.

Science – Goal: Identify ecological biomes
Students are asked to list different places that they have been on vacations and trips. How where the areas different? What was the weather like? What kinds of animals did they see? What kind of vegetation did they see?

Social Studies – Goal: Identify the effect of new inventions on the industrial revolution.
Ask students to think about new innovations in technology in the last ten years – i.e., iPods, DVD, internet access, etc. How have these innovations changed their lives? How do they think changes made during the industrial revolution might have effected peoples’ lives?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Setting purpose--
This is an easy way to help students understand the purpose of their reading, their homework, and why we are asking them to do what we do. Once I have started communicating the purpose of assignments to my students, it first focused my purpose for the assignment and made me outline and focus what I wanted the students to learn and get out of a text, an assignment, etc.

According to Cris Tovani in I Read It, but I Don’t Get It, “A reader’s purpose affects everything about reading. PURPOSE determines what’s important in the text, what is remembered, and what comprehension strategy a reader uses to enhance meaning.”

When teaching PURPOSE, have the students ASK:
~ How does this prepare me for a discussion of main ideas?
~ Am I looking for details to support a specific position?
~ Am I identifying steps in a process?
~ Am I recognizing the causes and effects of a particular event?

For post-reading, students should self-evaluate how reading with a specific purpose in mind improved their comprehension and enabled them to stay focused.