Activating Strategies

Activity What is it?  How do you use it?
KWL A KWL chart is used prior to the study of new material, a discussion, a reading, or an event.  Students are asked to brainstorm all of the things you either know, think you know or want to know about a particular topic. 
KWL Plus This is a KWL chart with the added activity of sorting the information/statements into categorizes.
Wordsplash A collection of key terms or concepts taken from the content or topic of study.  The terms selected represent important ideas and vocabulary.  Student make predictions and generate statements about the topic.  Finally, the students correct information after formal study of the material.
Anticipation Guide An Anticipation Guide includes a list of 8-10 statements related to a topic of  study. Prior to introducing new information, engage students by having them write whether or not they AGREE or DISAGREE with the statements listed on the guide.  After the new content has been taught, have students react to the new information by responding again to the statements on the Anticipation/Reaction Guide.   Discuss why their before and after answers are different. 
Brainstorm "Flexibility Style" Web Students brainstorm things they know about a topic.  Ideas are recorded on a T-chart and each ideas is assigned a category label.  Once students have generated many ideas and categories, the information is transferred to a web outline.
Brainstorm and Categorize This strategy is used prior to presenting new information.  The teacher introduces the topic and students brainstorm everything they know about a topic.  When students have generated all of their ideas, they sort them into categories and label.
Draw a Picture or Diagram Using a blank piece of paper, students are asked to draw or diagram the outline and details of a topic.
Activating Acrostic Place name of a topic or concept vertically down the paper.  Students generate a word or phrase that begins with each letter of the vertical word.
Dear Teacher... Students compose a friendly letter to their teacher announcing what they already know about a topic.  In the letter, students inform the teacher what they hope will be covered in the unit.
3-2-1 Students respond to the following related to a particular topic:  3 things that interest me, 2 things I'd like to know more about, 1 idea
Treasure Hunt
Find Someone Who Can Tell
To conduct a Treasure Hunt, students are given a description of the "treasures" they need to located at the beginning of a unit of study.  These treasures are statements about experiences or knowledge related to a new topic.  As they find each kind of "treasure", they obtain a signature as verification.
Five Words--Three Words A variation of brainstorm, Five Words asks students, working on their own, to list five words that come to mind when they think of a particular topic.  Students then get into pairs, trios, or groups of four to share and discuss their words.  Finally each group selects three words to share and explain to the entire class.
Walking Tour To set up the Walking Tour, choose passages, pictures, or statements for a topics.  Place one per chart.  Number each chart and post the charts around the room.  In small groups, students spend 2-5 minutes at each chart, reading, discussing, interpreting, and reacting to the idea--orally or in writing.  The groups move from chart to chart until they have visited all of the charts.  When the "tour groups" have finished, have the students discuss and summarize the charts with the entire group.
Picture Postcard At the beginning of a unit or topic of study, ask students to jot down what they already know about a topic on an index card.  On the first side of the postcard, students draw a picture of the topic.
In the Hot Seat

Prior to the beginning of class, the teacher will prepare questions related to the topic of study and write them on sticky notes.  Four to five questions are usually enough.   Sticky notes are placed underneath student desks/chairs so that they are hidden from view.    At the start of the class, inform students that several of them are sitting on "Hot Seats" and will be asked to answer questions related to the topic of study for the day.  Students who have questions on sticky notes will then take turns reading the question and attempting to provide an answer. 

Think-Pair-Share During this activity, students will have individual time to think about a question related to the topic of study.  They will then pair up with a partner to share their thoughts.  Finally, the pairs will select one major idea to share with the entire class.