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Introductory Scenario

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Candace was a paraprofessional in an early childhood setting.  She loved watching her educator partner Tom teach.  It made her feel comfortable because he always walked through the plan for the lesson before they began.  These previews helped her feel like she knew what was coming.  She liked this because she didn’t like be caught off guard.  Tom always began by telling his kindergarteners:


1. His aim for the lesson

2. Reminding them of what they already know  in relation to that aim

3. The process that they might take to get to the learning goal

4. The learning concepts and details on the room set up and lesson format

5. The roles of the children and the adults in the room

Candace could tell that by adding this preview in as part of his teaching routine the children were comfortable with the teaching routine and it served as a second layer of teaching that set the scene for their success.  Candace began to use this approach to preview her own mini lessons when she worked one on one with her student.  

PREVIEWING LESSONS

In this unit you will see how to introduce (or preview) a lesson. When teachers or parapros preview a lesson, their students learn better. That’s because the preview helps students link what they already know with what they are about to learn. With a preview, students find it easier to learn new skills and concepts.

The unit talks about two types of previews: 

  • learning targets 
  • advance organizers

You may have observed teachers using these types of previews, or you may have used them yourself.

Learning Targets

 

One key aspect is the introduction of learning targets to students. By explicitly stating the goals ahead of time, educators communicate specific, short-term objectives that can be achieved swiftly—within days or even hours. These learning targets, often framed as “I can” statements, serve as guiding markers for students. In primary grades, a learning target in science, for instance, might be “I can name and describe the eight planets in our solar system.”

Advance Organizers


Another valuable tool in the preview arsenal is the use of advance organizers. These are structures, whether verbal or graphic, that provide a preview of the main points or concepts that will unfold during the lesson or series of lessons. Acting as a form of lesson-before-the-lesson, advance organizers come in various forms such as diagrams, bulleted lists, charts, outlines, or texts. Their primary purpose is to set up a framework for the content in three crucial ways: connecting new ideas or skills to previously learned concepts, offering a brief explanation of the upcoming content, and highlighting key connections between new ideas and skills.

Module: Helping with Instruction

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