Tuesday, January 26, 2016

KTL Newsletter 6 - More Ideas On Categorizing

You have seen emails recently about top down webs and other aspect of Keys to Literacy, but we wanted to give you some new ideas for Categorizing

image via https://www.pinterest.com/keystoliteracy/

A great way to begin categorizing is to start with an everyday example. You can talk about categories for everyday items such as school supplies (have students place the school supplies in the correct bucket, coming up with an appropriate category label). You might put tools for measuring in one bucket, writing utensils in another, art supplies in another, etc.

One way to make this activity more interactive is to have buckets set up around your classroom. You can take, for example, the vocabulary from any unit of study, and have students place them in the correct category bucket. For instance, a social studies unit could have categories such as Economy, Government, Physical Features etc. of a particular area. If possible, each child would receive a term to sort appropriately, with one student in charge of making sure the others are putting the correct terms into the category. 

You can also do this with smaller groups, and have them sort all the terms and then come up with their own categories or labels for each bucket. If you want to keep it simple, you could use a worksheet to categorize; start off having students sort vocabulary/terms into assigned categories and eventually have them come up with the category label themselves. 

Finally, you can connect top down webs and categorizing by using a top down web for categorizing. This way, students can sort a list of given terms into the correct category and include visuals or short phrases with each term. The top down web with categorizing can then be used as a study guide, complete with visuals. It is an organized way to group terms from a particular unit to help them study and make connections.

Check out more classroom examples of categorizing on the Keys to Literacy Pinterest page.

Hope you find this newsletter helpful!

Please let one of us know if you have any questions.

Your KTL Coaches

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

KTL Newsletter 5 - When And How To Use Top-Down Webs

image via https://literacymalden.wikispaces.com/ 

I know you have recently had a great deal of information given to you regarding Keys to Literacy, so I thought this week I would send you some quick tips on when and how to use top-down topic webs.

Top-down webs may be used:
  • to help students visually sort new information into familiar categories.
  • to analyze the relationships between old and new information.
  • to create a simple structure for thinking about information in new ways.
  • to review concepts and demonstrate understanding.  

Some of the ways students can use them are:
  • to organize ideas; For instance as a graphic organizer before writing a paper.
  • to organize a unit so students have an overview of the unit and know what to expect.  (I’ve found this especially useful when I am introducing a new grammar unit.)  
  • to brainstorm.
  • to show narrative text structures.  This would be used after reading. 

Tips for using top down webs:
  • If students have never created a top-down web before, start with something they are familiar with and enjoy!  
  • Make sure students aren’t using complete sentences.  Have them write in phrases using their own words.  
  • The topics must be placed in different shapes (rectangles, circles, etc.)  The shapes are used to emphasize different levels of topics and subtopics. It is important to arrange the shapes in a way that emphasizes these relationships (i.e., major topics should be placed at a similar level on the web). Arrows also help to illustrate how these ideas are related.
  • Add color for every level!  Color can be used to emphasize the relationship between levels of topics, or to group major and sub-topics together that related. (Let’s face it; it doesn't matter how old you are.  Everyone loves to color!  Even my 8th graders like to color in their top-down webs.)