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Spotlight on Strategies:4 to 1

Display the first of four images for one minute and ask students to write one sentence in one of the boxes of their paper. Repeat the process for all four images. Work in pairs or groups to discuss individual sentences, looking for similarities and differences. Students then create a sentence that incorporates all four images (this can be silly).

Big idea

Schema theory explains how our previous experiences, knowledge, emotions, and understandings affect what and how we learn. (Harvey & Goudvis, 2000) Good readers and writers allow their schema to help shape their understanding and connections. Keene and Zimmerman (1997) concluded that students comprehend better when they make different kinds of connections: text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world. This strategy encourages students to draw on connections from knowledge or texts through using different images. 

Overview of strategy

  • Ages:Early years, Primary & Secondary
  • Media type used:Image
  • Preparation time:Medium
  • Download strategy PDF
Steps

Materials: 

four digital images, paper, pen/pencil

  1. Introduce this strategy to your students by instructing them to fold a blank piece of paper into quarters (or divide a page into quarters).
  2. Have four pre-selected digital images ready to display on the board. These images do not have to be related in any way, or they may correlate to a topic you have been studying.
  3. Display the first image for one minute and have students write one complete sentence in one of the boxes of their paper. Repeat this process for all four images. Students should end up with one sentence per box.
  4. Ask students to work in pairs or small groups to discuss their individual sentences, looking for similarities and differences.
  5. Students can then work again in pairs or small groups to create one complete sentence that incorporates all four images.

    Note: Be willing to accept silly sentences, as sentence structure is the main idea here.

  6. Display several of these sentences and guide students through a check of sentence completion with questions such as:

    • What part of speech is _____ in this sentence?
    • What is another noun we can use from the images in place of _____?
    • Can we describe _____?
    • Which are examples of describing words?
Sum it up

This strategy is an effective way to get students to build background knowledge, improve writing skills, communicate, collaborate, think critically and exercise creativity.

More ideas
  • Use this strategy with students with early stage of English development, as it gives them the opportunity to develop vocabulary and grammar skills while speaking and writing brief yet relevant captions. 
  • Review a topic you have been studying as an informal assessment to see what information your students are retaining.

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