Tuesday, December 15, 2015

ELL Strategy: Student Experts

One of the best ways for students to retain knowledge is to share that knowledge with someone else. I’m sure you’ve heard that old saying, “To teach is to learn.” This month’s strategy allows you to provide opportunities for students to become experts on a topic related to a unit of study or to literature that is being read in the classroom and then share their knowledge with others.

Incorporating student experts also allows for a more student-centered classroom, making everyone in the classroom an expert on something, instead of the teacher being the keeper of all knowledge.
When introducing a new topic or piece of literature, generate a list of related topics or concepts. Give students the opportunity to sign up to be an expert for one or more of the topics, and provide index cards. Display a blank index card sectioned off for information you would like students to collect so they can format their cards the same way. The pictures below show how I set up my cards:

Front of card
Back of card
When students finish classwork or an assessment early, they can take a card and research the topic(s) they signed up for, putting the requested information onto their cards. This also makes a great computer center activity! Students can work individually or in pairs. During class or a reading, when another student has a question about one of these related topics or concepts, the student expert(s) who researched the topic are able to share what they learned about the topic with their classmates. The cards can then be placed on an “expert wall” where students can access the information at any time.

Click the picture below to get a FREE set of printable card templates and sign-up sheets!

What a fun way to encourage student inquiry!

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