It makes sense that if there is no prior knowledge, then there is nothing to activate. Students often study topics they know very little about (that is why, after all, that they attend school!) and therefore teachers must think of ways of providing the necessary background knowledge quickly and efficiently.
The purpose of reading is to make meaning from what is read – not just to be able to say the words. The ability to say the words is the process of decoding and the ability to make meaning from texts is reading. So, when teachers complain, ‘they read but they don’t understand’, students are decoding not reading.
As external exams become a larger part of the Queensland senior school experience, it is vital teachers prepare students to be able to work out the meaning of an unfamiliar word without consulting a dictionary or a mobile phone.
Viewing a video clip should always be purposeful and students need to be accountable for the time they have spent viewing it. In this blog post, Pat Hipwell looks at how to make students pay attention and learn from videos.
A popular activity as a warm-up or for early finishers is to find all the words using the letters of a long word. The letters can be mixed up. I would not recommend this activity unless it’s something to fill in time at the end of the term or year.
All resources, mine included, are only as good as the thinking behind them. As a teacher, I found that the resources that helped me the most were the ones I created myself. These resources were tailor-made so tended to be the most effective.