Click link for sample & additional instructions.


Students spell the topic/word down the side of the page.
Each letter is used to generate a word or phrase to tell something they think they know about the topic.

Students create a graphic representation of a topic before the lesson. Drawing is revisited after the lesson to assess learning.

 Given statements about content, students make predictions prior to reading and/or instruction. Responses are then revisited
after reading/instruction.

Given a piece of music, students fill in what they already "Know" and what they "Want" to Learn" prior to the lesson. The sections
contain guiding prompts to help focus student responses. After the lesson, students fill-in new learning in the "Learned" column.
Activating for Context Clues
Link to a teacher site with strategies to activate for teaching context clues.
Walking Tour
Choose passages, pictures, or statements about a topic. Place one per chart/poster. Number each chart/poster and hang around the room. In small groups,
students spend 2-5 minutes at each chart, reading, discussing, interpreting, and reacting to the idea. Students write additional items words/statements to show what they know or wonder about the picture/statement. Groups move from chart to chart until they have visited all of the charts. Whole class discussion and summarization of the charts.
Picture Postcard
Students write a quick note to the teacher explaining what they already know about a topic on the lined side of an index card. Students draw a picture to represent what was written--main point or as a whole. Collaborative pair sharing may be used prior to sharing out or turning in with the teacher choosing random responses to share anonymously.
Word Splash
A collection of key terms or concepts taken from the content or topic to be studied and that represent important ideas and vocabulary are displayed. Students individually or in pairs work to make predictions and generate statements about the topic. At the conclusion of the lesson the word splash may be revisited to identify prior misconceptions and/or brainstorm words that could be added. Click on the link to go to the Wordle site for one way of representing a word splash.

Picture books are great for activating and building prior knowledge at all levels. This is an amazing list of picture books on a variety of topics and suitable for secondary students within many content areas!

More picture books for activating at the secondary level.
Activating with Picture Books
Use easy non-fiction to build background knowledge, especially for struggling readers. Great resource for books and strategies for using them.