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The Background Knowledge Webinar will begin at 2:00 PM Eastern Time. Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2009). Background Knowledge: The Missing Piece of the Comprehension.

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Presentation on theme: "The Background Knowledge Webinar will begin at 2:00 PM Eastern Time. Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2009). Background Knowledge: The Missing Piece of the Comprehension."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Background Knowledge Webinar will begin at 2:00 PM Eastern Time. Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2009). Background Knowledge: The Missing Piece of the Comprehension Puzzle. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

2 Webinar Background Knowledge: The Missing Piece of the Comprehension Puzzle Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2009). Background Knowledge: The Missing Piece of the Comprehension Puzzle. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

3 Just because the backpack is in there, doesn’t mean he can find it! Background Knowledge Is Like a Teenager’s Closet…

4 How People Learn Organized: Knowing where to find it Conditionalized: Knowing when it is needed Transferable: Knowing how to apply it to new situations (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2000)

5 Assess what students already know Plan lessons and activities that build background knowledge Design ways to activate students’ knowledge by having them interact with content 3 Practices Linked to Background Knowledge

6 Assessing Your Practice

7 Assessing Background Knowledge

8 Assessing Your Practice Use the rubric to determine your goals for addressing misconceptions and assessing background knowledge.

9 CoreIncidental Foundational to understanding main concepts Representation Interesting, but incidental Requires multiple exposures and experiences Transmission Can be explained or defined easily (label, fact, or name) Needed again to understand future concepts Transferability Specific to this concept; unlikely to be used later Will be remembered after details are forgotten Enduring Not likely to be recalled later Comparing Incidental and Core Knowledge

10 The Cask of Amontillado (Poe) CoreIncidental Knowledge of the era regarding the importance of maintaining reputations. Importance of revenge to resolve grievances. Role of family reputation through generations. Symbolism of the Montressor coat of arms. The unreliable narrator as a literary device. Impunity: getting away with something with no punishment. Carnival celebrations. Amontillado is a kind of wine. Wine cellars and catacombs are underground. Freemasons are a secret society.

11 Core Concept in Middle School Plane Geometry

12 Originally developed for readability Now used to assess content knowledge Teacher-made 250-word passage Every fifth word deleted Scoring Independent level: 60% correct or above Instructional level: 40-59% correct Frustration level: 39% or below Cloze Assessments

13 Interest Survey in Biology

14 Opinionnaire in History

15 Activating What Students Know

16 Assessing Your Practice Use the rubric to determine your goals for building Background knowledge in your classroom.

17 Establishing purpose is key to activating background knowledge Include: –Content: “We’ll be learning about how fear outweighed justice when Japanese-Americans were sent to internment camps in World War II.” –Language: “What words would be seen and heard that would make people more fearful?” –Social: “You’ll be working in small groups to analyze newspaper headlines from the weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor.” The Role of Establishing Purpose

18 Make a list of key words from a passage students will be reading Ask them to write their own passage using the terms in order Great way to assess background knowledge, and activates students’ Text Impressions

19 Quickwrites Brief written response to a question Should be a thought-provoking question Gives students a psychologically safe environment to speculate Avoid questions that are too simplistic Extend these quickwrite questions by inviting students to engage in structured partner discussions

20 Cause/effect: –Because _____ occurred, the results included _____. Compare/contrast: –_____ and _____ share several characteristics, including ______. Feature academic language in a cloze format to promote background knowledge Sentence Frames

21 There is a lot of discussion about whether ______. The people who agree with this idea, such as _____, claim that ____. They also argue that _____. A further point they make is _____. However, there are also strong arguments against this point. _____ believes that _____. Another counterargument is _____. Furthermore, _____. After looking at the different points of view and the evidence for them, I think ____ because _____. David Wray, University of Warwick Paragraph Frames

22 Building Background Knowledge

23 Use the rubric to determine your goals for building background knowledge in your classroom. Assessing Your Practice

24 Teacher modeling of comprehension skills is effective with adolescents (Alfassi, 2004) Provides students with insights into the ways that an expert makes cognitive decisions An opportunity to profile discipline-specific expertise Building Background with Think-alouds

25 Virtual Frog Dissection Lab

26 Thinking Aloud with a Calculator

27 Annotating a piece of text in English Interpreting a piece of sheet music in band class Reading and interpreting an editorial cartoon in history Others? Other Examples

28 Wide reading Graphic organizers to strengthen schema Guest speakers Field trips and experiential learning Other Methods for Building Background Knowledge

29 Background Knowledge in a Classroom

30 Activating and Building Background Knowledge in One Classroom 8th grade social studies Core knowledge for the course is on growth and conflict Major theme for the course: This period of U.S. history was marked with successes and failures brought about by the decisions of leaders and citizens.

31 Assessing Background Knowledge: Opinionnaire What’s your opinion? SAADSD A patriot is heroic. Sometimes the only thing left to do is fight for what you believe in. The American Revolutionary War could have been avoided if both sides had compromised on taxes. All the colonists were in support of the war.

32 Assessing Background Knowledge: Cloze Passage

33 “Loyalists” and “Patriots” use a list of reasons offered by each to produce a broadside (newspaper) Posted the broadsides in the hallway Read and debated Activating Background Knowledge: Role Play

34 She says, “I’ve heard about Parliament before. That’s the name of the group of representatives in Britain that made laws. I learned about Parliament when I read about England taking over the colonies from the Dutch one hundred years earlier. I recall now that Parliament also came up with the plan to ship prisoners from English jails to the colonies. Hmmm…it seems like Parliament didn’t always have the colonies’ best interests in mind when they made decisions.” She reads, “ The colonists objected to paying King George ’ s taxes without having a voice in Parliament. They called it taxation without representation. And while the tax on tea was a small one, just three cents a pound, it was regarded as a symbol of British tyranny ” (p. 2). Building Background Knowledge: Think-aloud

35 Teacher provides a range of reading materials Differentiated texts reflect the range of readers in the room Wide reading is effective for building background knowledge IF the text isn’t too difficult Building Background Knowledge: Independent Reading

36 Building Background Knowledge: Guided Instruction

37 Questions for Analyzing Your Unit Have I determined core versus incidental background knowledge for this topic? Have I assessed students such that I can recognize common misconceptions? Have I established a purpose that makes learning relevant for students? Am I regularly activating background knowledge? Have I modeled and demonstrated my own understanding before requiring students to complete learning tasks? Have I focused on background knowledge that moves beyond facts and isolated skills? Have I provided students with wide-reading opportunities to facilitate background knowledge gains? Have I planned live and virtual experiences to build background knowledge?

38 Assessing Your Practice


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