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.)  

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