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Lesson 3: Skills and Best Practices

Applying Predicting Skills

The site below is excellent for reviewing the reciprocal teaching-learning process useful in the case study situation outlined below.

Asking students to predict what will happen next is a high level thinking skill. Students need to draw on information they have learned in class or just read about, process the information and refine their thinking about it, and then make predictions about the next logical event. The reciprocal teaching-learning process is based on this assumption. For example, students go through several steps in the process, beginning with a prediction and ending with a prediction of what might come next. The steps in the process include:

This process can be applied to real life situations. For example, a class discussion of a recent world event can be analyzed using this process. A class discussion reacting to news that there has been a terrorist attack in a major city will:

Using Jigsaw to Share Information

Jigsaw is a cooperative learning strategy designed to use the team to obtain and share information with the home group. The site below will be very helpful to those not familiar with cooperative learning strategies and would like to know more about them.

The essential components of cooperation are positive interdependence, face-to-face promotive interaction, individual and group accountability, interpersonal and small group skills, and group processing (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1993). Systematically structuring those basic elements into group learning situations helps ensure cooperative efforts and enables the disciplined implementation of cooperative learning for long-term success.

Using Prior Knowledge to Teach a New Concept

Reading strategies often provide pathways for looking at events in the real world. In fact, successful teaching is based on the ability to transfer skills learned in the classroom to real life. Using prior knowledge to learn a new idea or concept in social studies is a good example.

What are the thinking strategies that all proficient readers use as they read?
  • Determining What is Important - Identifying themes and diminishing focus on less important ideas or pieces of information
  • Drawing Inferences - Combining background knowledge and textual information to draw conclusions and interpret facts
  • Using Prior Knowledge - Building on previous knowledge and experiences to aid in comprehension of the text
  • Asking Questions - Wondering and inquiring about the book before, during, and after reading
  • Monitoring Comprehension and Meaning - Using an inner voice to think about if the text makes sense or not
  • Creating Mental Images - Implementing the five senses to build images in the mind that enhance the experience of reading

Now think about a new concept, event, or theme that you want to introduce in social studies. How important are the above steps in this process? How important is the use of prior knowledge in this process?