December 7th, 2018
A book about going to camp or sleeping in a tent might bring up a vision of cozy tents and bonfires for one child, while another child may think of living in a makeshift refugee camp with unsanitary and crowded conditions. We can never assume that all children come to us with the same experiences and background knowledge. Taking the time to activate prior knowledge and fill in any gaps in experience and understanding can be vital to student success, especially for our students with limited prior schooling.
Teacher Tips and Strategies to activate prior knowledge and provide context for English Language Learners:
- Activate prior knowledge through visuals and lower-risk opportunities to build context with strategies such as “where do I stand on the line”, “think-pair-share” or “inside-outside”, or other small group discussion
- Generate interest and fill in background on the topic being studied with manipulatives, realia, video clips, and photographs
When we provide appropriate scaffolds for our English Language Learners, ALL students in the classroom benefit.