Enhance Content Literacy: Start Your Content Area Lessons with Some Background Activation through ICT

All students come to class with knowledge of something that they might link to the new learning. Brain science tells us that utilizing schema or background knowledge of anything and connecting it to the new learning helps. 

Before you teach a unit of study consider how "front loading" your topic with vocabulary and activation of schema may inspire learning. Assess whether students know the words you are going to use in your lesson. Assess the background knowledge of your students through an anticipation guide before going forward with the teaching. Front loading with vocabulary and activation of background knowledge provides connection schema.

Choose 3 links/websites in a content area from the Front Loading tab above. Explore these with your class before beginning the new unit of study. Walking through the BIG book online (the internet), allows students to explore possible content that they will encounter, be stimulated by incidental content connected to the new area, and quick-view what is coming up so they each can make an incidental connection when working through a unit plan.

Have students use jot notes or stickies to remark on possible areas of interest through this preview activity. Prepare them through preview. Encourage them to size up the topic before they begin.

Example I: Search the Annenberg Site by subject area and select three links to explore.

Example II: Search through the following site BBC Bitesize using the phrase "What would I need to know if I knew about this topic?" Explore intro videos, quizzes, and possible activities.

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