Wednesday, September 22, 2021

ELL Strategy for Activating Background Knowledge: Anticipation Guide

Before starting a new unit or topic, it is important to find out what students already know, and connect it to the new concepts they'll be learning. One way to do that is with an anticipation guide. Anticipation guides stimulate students' interest in a topic and set a purpose for reading or learning. They also teach students to make evaluate statements in terms of their existing knowledge.

By evaluating a statement about a topic or related to a topic, students are able to assess their own knowledge and determine which information they're lacking. This helps them to set goals for their own learning during the lesson or unit. At the end of the lesson/unit, they're able to reevaluate the statements and see if their answers have changed. This allows them to determine if they met their learning goals and see their own growth.

How do I use it?

  1. Construct the anticipation guide by writing 6-8 statements about key ideas in the text (4 for younger or lower proficiency students). Some statements should be true and some false. Include a blank for students to enter a check or an x to show whether the agree/think the statement is true or disagree/think the statement is false.
  2. Introduce the text or topic and share the guide with the students. The first time you introduce this, model the process of responding to the statements and marking the columns.
  3. Read each of the statements and ask the students to mark if they agree or disagree. Provide the opportunity for discussion. The emphasis is not on right answers but to share what they know and to make predictions.
  4. At the end of the unit, lesson, or text, have students review and reevaluate the statements. Discuss whether anyone changed their answer, and what they learned that changed their minds.

Do you use this strategy in your classroom? Have you found it successful?

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