The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 3 - Page 21

There is no one strategy that fits every content area, age group, or situation, but each strategy needs to be chosen based on the goals of the lesson. For example when students need to compare and contrast two or more things, strategies such as KWL (a strategy where students indicate what they Know, Want to Know, and Learned), T-charts (a graphic organizer in which students are able to compare and contrast), and the Frayer model (a graphic organizer in which students define vocabulary and apply the information by forming examples, non-examples, and characteristics) can all be used to help students pull information out of the text and organize that information in a meaningful way. Concept maps/webs (a visual representation of a concept that shows the interrelatedness between ideas) and sequencing chains (a strategy in which students put important events in order) can help students visualize the interconnectedness of information. Cloze (a strategy in which students fill in blanks left in the text), summaries, and VIPs (Very Important Points are used during and after reading to focus on main ideas or concepts) can help students key in on important details. For learners who are more visual, strategies that include picture (either digital or hand drawn) products can assist learners in creating an image that is tied to the concept. Strategies that encourage discussion such as Read, Discuss, Conclude (which will be presented later in the article) encourage students to consider other people's viewpoints before they come to a conclusion.

Furthermore in my experience as a classroom teacher, many of these strategies have a level of novelty to them and the students enjoy doing them more than just another worksheet. Since they are often perceived as more fun, especially the ones that are more creative in nature, there is more active engagement with the information. Also, using a variety of strategies meets the needs of the various types of learners present in the classroom.

Examples of Strategies for Science

In my science classroom, I have used a variety of strategies depending on the goal of the lesson or content to be learned. I have taught both at the middle school and the high school level. The following are ideas on how to use various strategies in the science classroom.

1. Important Book: This strategy is taken from the idea in Margaret Wise Brown’s The Important Book. In this strategy, students have to identify what they think is the most important characteristic of a concept or topic followed by supporting details that give additional information about the topic. Then they repeat the most important characteristic again. This takes on an almost poem like structure when written. The format looks like this:

The important thing about__________ is __________________.

It_______(supporting detail_____________.

It_______(supporting detail_____________.

It_______(supporting detail_____________.

But the important thing about _________________ is ________________.

(Repeat of 1st line.)

Depending on the topic, anywhere from two to four supporting details may be used. This also helps students to summarize information and choose what is important to remember. I have used this strategy for couple of different topics, but one of which was cell organelles.