Instructional Strategies



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Gallery Walk


What is it?
Students explore multiple texts or images that are placed around the room in order to share student work, examine multiple historical documents or respond to a collection of quotations.
How Does It Work?

  1. Generate Questions and Write Questions

Think of four to five questions to use around a central social studies concept and write them ahead of time on chart paper. For larger classes, you can either write more questions or repeat the same set of four to five questions, posting the same question set in different sections of the class. Write one question for one sheet of paper and post the questions on the wall around the class, giving sufficient separation space between sheets.

  1. Group Students and Assign Roles

Arrange students into teams of three to five. Provide each group with a different colored marker. If cooperative learning techniques will be used, assign roles like leader, reporter, monitor, and recorder. The role should be alternated between each team member.

  1. Begin Gallery Walk

Direct teams to different charts. Upon arriving at the chart, each team writes comments for the question posed. To avoid chart clutter and rambling comments, encourage the recorder to write in a bulleted format closest to the top of the chart.

  1. Rotate to Chart and Add Content

After a short period of time, around three to five minutes depending upon the question, say “rotate.” The group then rotates, clockwise, to the next chart and adds new comments and responds to comments left by the previous group. To involve all group members, switch recorders at each station.

  1. Instructor Monitors Progress

As groups rotate, the instructor nurtures student discussion and involves all group members. Be ready to rephrase questions or to provide hints if students either don't understand or misinterpret questions; be ready to provide instructions for those that still don't understand how to conduct a Gallery Walk.
To spur discussion, ask questions like "Your group seems to think ..... about this issue. How would you rephrase or summarize what has been discussed so far?" or "What similarities and differences do you see between the responses you are giving at this station and what was summarized at the last station?" On a personal level: encourage developing ideas and praise insight. Couch criticism constructively.

  1. Return to Starting Point

Teams continue to review the answers already contributed by previous groups, adding their own comments. This procedure continues until groups have visited all stations and return to the station at which they started. Instruct students to record their original (starting) question and to sit down in their teams to begin the "Report Out" stage.

  1. Report Out

In the “Report Out” stage, the group synthesizes what has been written about their original discussion question. Allow about ten minutes for the group to synthesize comments. The “reporter” chosen earlier, summarizes the group's comments with the help of other group members and makes an oral presentation to the class using the blackboard or on an overhead projector. The oral report should not exceed five minutes in length. Alternatively, students can write a written report composed either individually or as a group.

  1. Gauge for Student Understanding

During “Report Out” stage, the instructor reinforces correctly expressed concepts and corrects for misconceptions and errors. What, for example, did students seem to readily understand? What did they find difficult and how can I adjust my teaching to accommodate students?

An Example:


Headline News Summary


What is it?
The Headline News Summary is an adaptation of “Somebody Wanted But So” created by John Antonetti. It is a graphic organizer that helps students summarize information.

  • Elementary students in primary grades may use the SWBS (Somebody/Wanted/But/So) version of the strategy.


How Does It Work?

  1. Students acquire information. Their reading or use of other media should be directed at acquiring information that helps them master a unit understanding. The strategy works best when the content can be expressed as a narrative.

  2. Students summarize using the graphic organizer. They compose brief sentences that “tell the story” of the narrative. The organizer helps them compress the main ideas of a long narrative into a few sentences.

  3. Debriefing. Use the organizer as an exit slip to be graded, have students check their work with others, or take samples from the class for discussion in a large group format.


Why use it?

Summarization is a “high yield” strategy because it forces students to interact with information rather than simply copying it. The Headline News Summary is perfect strategy for social studies because it can help students sift through information to find the “big ideas”.


An Example:

The Unit Understanding (what the teacher wants students to learn):

Africa’s colonial past fostered a legacy of ethnic conflict and other problems.



Assignment: Use the notes you took from the reading on the problems created by imperialism in Africa to create a brief summary using the Headline News Summary graphic organizer. Check your work with your partner then turn it in as an exit slip. We’ll staple them in your notebooks tomorrow.

Student Sample:

Somebody…

The people

somewhere…

in Africa

wanted…

wanted to be free to live in tribal groups within traditional boundaries

but…

but the powerful nations of Europe came and exploited them as colonies

so they…

were forced to fight for their freedom

then…

they began to fight each other because of the problems caused by imperialism

and so…

today they still struggle with problems of ethnic violence and other economic and social issues.

SUMMARY: The people in Africa wanted to be free to live in tribal groups within traditional boundaries but the powerful nations of Europe came and exploited them as colonies. So they were forced to fight for their freedom and then they began to fight each other because of the problems caused by imperialism. So, today they still struggle with problems of ethnic violence and other economic and social issues.







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